Last week we heard Jesus call us to service, to leave our attachments behind, to let the dead bury their dead and go with him. This week, Jesus tells us how to do that service. He tells us we don’t need fancy clothes or props to spread the powerful message of God’s love. That the message is enough if people will listen.
Isaiah 66, 10-14
Galatians 6, 14-18
Luke 10.1-12, 17-20
This week we hear Jesus sending those folks out as prophets —truth tellers– to spread the love and joy of God. Jesus sends them out- in pairs- to tell of what they have learned, what it is like to live steeped in the love of God.
Here is the pep talk he gave them:
Don’t take anything with you! Not a purse, not a suitcase, just go.
You don’t need stuff to preach, you don’t any special tools, you just need …you.
And your story. Go into a town and speak to the people who will listen.
If they don’t listen, shake the dust from your feet and go on to find someone who will.
In our Scripture stories today, I see us and our spiritual ancestor of 2,000 years ago, doing pretty much the same thing. Gathering first and then going forth to spread Jesus’s message of justice, of mercy, of love. I draw parallels between Scripture and Holy Family. but I don’t know about you, but after years of hearing homilies about what we should be doing and somehow we never seem to be doing enough, it’s quite refreshing and dare I say exonerating to point out that we have already been doing these things
Look. We gather here, in this holy space, around the table, around each other because of the call of Jesus.
We get the booster shot of grace that is present every time we gather.
We take our best selves out every week to live our truths, to share our truths with others.
We can preach, we can tell of the truths we have come to know, that our Catholic Faith is not a burden but a source of joy because we have stripped it of the centuries of outdated rules and regulations and uncovered the joy at the center of it.
The joy that has always been there.
Jesus told us to go out, but he doesn’t give a script. We are left to tell of our own unique stories. of what to say.
I’ve heard some of the things you have said when we’ve been out and about. In our booth at Pridefest this year, I heard you telling people how cool it is here at Holy Family. I have heard you talk of the fabulous woman priest and her homilies that never fail to inspire… (tee-hee) How we love getting together week after week, how one may come as a stranger to Holy Family, but one leaves as a friend. How being with like-minded people at Holy Family helps us tell our stories, helps us to find the God connection in all of our stories, gives us the courage and excitement to go out to tell about our great God.
That’s the script. Our lived lives and our stories. That’s pretty easy, huh, no memorizing, no talking points, just telling about our lived lives and our stories.
Now, here is a little caveat. I think sharing spiritual stories could be pretty hard.
You are sharing your core, who you are when you share your spirituality. You are opening up a very sacred part of who you are.
I remember sharing something with priest friend of mine that I thought was a very profound . He smiled politely, said something like “Good for you” and then blew me off. Boy did that hurt. I was hurt and embarrassed that maybe what I had shared was dumb, was naïve. That experience made me wary of sharing my stories again. That might happen when you tell your stories.
However, reading between the lines of Scripture today, I think Jesus must have had that same thing happen to him. He said if people don’t listen to you, shake the dust from your feet and go on. Why would he say that if something like my experience didn’t happen to him? I think that is why Jesus sent folks out in twos so if something like that did happened, the other person would still have their wits about them to shake the dust off and move the pair of them on.
Here’s a helpful thing to remember, too.
We aren’t asked to convince anyone or browbeat anyone about our beliefs.
We tell our story. We tell our truths. That’s all. If our stories fall on deaf or hostile ears, shake the dust off. It’s up to God to do the rest.
This week, then, think about your story about why you follow Jesus.
Think about your answers so you will be ready with your story when the time comes.
If your story includes Holy Family and if you sense someone wants to come here but is still kind of hesitant, make the offer to bring them here! Difficult tasks seem to be easier when two or three are together. We have 35 chairs here that need filling and we can always buy more!
We all have our work cut out for us. Let’s get busy.
Homily shared on Saturday, 6 July 2019, by Rev. Mary Keldermans.