presence of disciples
14th Sunday Ordinary Time
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: July 3, 2022
On Twitter this past week I saw this statement:
“If people hate you because of Jesus, that’s expected. If people hate Jesus because of you, that’s a problem.”
Jesus is sending his disciples out in pairs to everywhere he intended to go. They were to prepare the way for his visit. Jesus tells them that after visiting to say to the people, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” How has the kingdom of God come near to them? Simply by the presence of these disciples of Jesus being there with them.
As I thought about this, I was wondering about you and me and how Jesus may be sending us out. Are we with other people in such a way that they experience the kingdom of God near to them? How do I speak with others, how do I treat others, how do I care for others? Do they experience being in the kingdom of God through my presence?
One morning this week I was sitting in the office working and Rachel was not in that day. The office door rang. So, I got up to go see who it was and what they wanted. It was a young man who sometimes drops by our church, he never really speaks much, often he asks for some food, though sometimes he will ask for communion. I am not sure where he lives or what his situation is. My initial reaction was to be bothered and just wanting to nicely send him off.
Anyways, I asked him what he wanted. He asked when the next church service would be. I told him it would be tomorrow. He asked if we could pray. So, I invited him into the office and said a prayer and gave him a blessing. I guess I felt a little guilty and remembered that I had some Swiss chocolate in my office. So, I went to get it. He went into the washroom, I am guessing he needed a washroom more than anything else. I told him I had some chocolate if he would like. He took them but then he reached into a plastic bag he was carrying and he pulled out a KitKat chocolate bar and handed it to me. Then he asked about making a donation to the church. I gave him an envelope and he slipped a small bill into it. By the end of the visit as he left, I felt that the kingdom of God was near to me through this poor unassuming man.
The Prophet Isaiah in our First Reading today, in describing God, uses the image of a mother comforting her child. This God desires to hold us, comfort us, to embrace us in love. Jesus sends us out as labourers to be with others in such a way that they experience this love of God, that they experience the kingdom of God near to them.
This is our challenge, this is our call. Who will you visit this week, who will you see this week, who will you speak with this week? In what way will you be with them so that they know the kingdom of God is near to them?
There are lots of Catholics around, but how many of us are labourers in the harvest, how many of us are being with others in such a way that they experience the kingdom of God near to them, like a mother comforting a child?