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Move Along

First Reading: Isaiah 66:10-14C
Thus says the LORD:
Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her,
all you who love her;
exult, exult with her,
all you who were mourning over her!
Oh, that you may suck fully
of the milk of her comfort,
that you may nurse with delight
at her abundant breasts!
For thus says the LORD:
Lo, I will spread prosperity over Jerusalem like a river,
and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent.
As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms,
and fondled in her lap;
as a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you;
in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort.

When you see this, your heart shall rejoice
and your bodies flourish like the grass;
the LORD’s power shall be known to his servants.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20

R. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth,
sing praise to the glory of his name;
proclaim his glorious praise.
Say to God, “How tremendous are your deeds!”
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
“Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you,
sing praise to your name!”
Come and see the works of God,
his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
He has changed the sea into dry land;
through the river they passed on foot;
therefore let us rejoice in him.
He rules by his might forever.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
what he has done for me.
Blessed be God who refused me not
my prayer or his kindness!
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.

Second Reading: Galatians 6:14-18

Brothers and sisters:
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
through which the world has been crucified to me,
and I to the world.
For neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision,
but only a new creation.
Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule
and to the Israel of God.

From now on, let no one make troubles for me;
for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit,
brothers and sisters. Amen.

Gospel: Luke 10:1-12, 17-20

At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter, first say,
‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves his payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’
Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you,
go out into the streets and say,
‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet,
even that we shake off against you.’
Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand.
I tell you,
it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.”

The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said,
“Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”
Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.
Behold, I have given you the power to ‘tread upon serpents’ and scorpions
and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you,
but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

NAB

July 3

“Like sheep among wolves.”

Just imagine standing face to face with Jesus, hearing these words as He sends you out on your life’s mission.

He doesn’t talk about the perks or the bonuses. He doesn’t talk about how fulfilling the work will be or rave about the connections that might be made. Instead, when Jesus commissions this group to spread truth, He gives them only the bare bones of what to bring, what to do, and what to say. Yet this–along with their zeal and His grace—appears to be more than enough for their journey.

Jesus also warns of trials; yes, they will see great miracles, but they will also meet great frustration and disappointment. Some of the very souls they are working tirelessly to bring to God’s kingdom will, quite literally, close their doors in the face of the disciples, in response to an unparalleled opportunity for grace.

We may not live the same austere lifestyle or fear the same type of persecution as those seventy two disciples, but we are Christ’s disciples all the same—sheep being sent out by our Lord among wolves of a new breed. It’s still just as hard to live as Christians and proclaim the Gospel today as it was then.

What makes it so tough?

The fact that other imperfect humans have the free will, the choice of whether or not they will cooperate with grace. Sometimes they choose to, and we are overjoyed, and it’s a beautiful moment. But the reality is that sometimes, they just won’t.

But, as Jesus reminds us so clearly, He only needs us to be the messenger, not their Savior.

This hard truth holds a certain freedom for us mere messengers.

Jesus tells us to let go. Move along to those with ready hearts just waiting for us to bring them Jesus. We can keep the hardened hearts in prayer, but we must remember that we are messengers, not saviors, and step aside so the Our Lord and Savior can get to work.

There will be wolves. Doors may slam in our face. But there is always, always sufficient grace. This, Jesus promises as He sends us on our way—and upon our return, we can rejoice at the prospect of our names being written with Him in Heaven.

If you’re aching beyond hope for someone you love to know God, try to step aside and place them in our Lord and Lady’s hands today.

Megan Hjelmstad is a wife, mom, writer and sometimes soldier whose real passion is equal parts faith and chocolate. You can find out more about her here.

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