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Thank you Deacon Vincent for your Reflections for 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C

1st Reading from the Prophet Isaiah 66: 10-14.
This is the final chapter of the third Isaiah (Trito-Isaiah). These writings are from several disciples of Isaiah, relating the return of the people of Israel from exile in Babylon. It deals with whether to rebuild the Temple. This writing is proclaiming Jerusalem as the mother of the nation; when the people return to the practice of the Law, then peace will flow like a river throughout the nation, and God is running to greet the returning exiles. There was always a tension between those who worshipped God in the Temple and those who thought that God should not or could not be confined in a single place but was always present to the people. Christians experience the same tension between God present in a “gathering of one or two in my name and I am in their midst”, and those who feel he can only be encountered in a Church. God is always present in the people; he is always running towards us to greet us whenever we turn our minds and hearts to him; however he loves his people to gather in union with him so we can be nourished by his presence in Word and Sacrifice. This is a powerful proof of our oneness with him, when we worship him together. This section is a prelude to the declaration that, “All are welcome in the People of God.”

Psalm 65: 1-7, 16, 20.
A song of thanksgiving, God is always faithful, he never rejects our prayers, nor withholds his love from us. This is a very important prayer to prevent us slipping into despair. Great and awesome as God is, he loves us and wants us to be with him, so his heart is always open to forgive us our failings.

2nd Reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Galatians 6: 14-18.
The phrase, “New Creation”, is an important concept for Paul. It surfaces in 2 Corinthians, Ephesians chapters 2 and 4, and Colossians, chapter 3. There is also an allusion to it underlying his letter to the Romans. In Christ there is no division in the world anymore between the circumcised and the gentiles. What matters now is the new universe without the old national identities. Christ by his crucifixion and resurrection has formed a new universe where we are all united in Him, for the worship of the Father at the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He signs off this rule with a wonderful exhortation for us, “Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule”, by this we form the “Israel of God”. “The marks on my body are those of Jesus”. This could allude to the scars from his scourging, or that like Christ, he is crucified to the world, for the sake of the Gospel. Whatever he is saying we know that, for him, Christ is the whole of his life, he is totally wrapped up in proclaiming Christ to the world. What a marvellous example for us to follow.

The Holy Gospel according to Luke 10: 1-12, 17-20.
The sending out by Jesus of 72 ahead of where he is to visit illustrates that preparation for the Lord is important. They are to trust entirely upon God’s providence, to provide for them. The instructions are very severe and insisting upon their single mindedness upon the message. We are privy to their triumphal return, and we hear the Lord rejoicing with them, “I watched Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” This is what happens when we follow the Lord’s way of proclaiming his coming. No interest in worldly things. If we concentrate upon Him and His message, then everything we need will be given us. Our present Pope is trying to return the church to this idea by taking the name of Francis, following that radical preacher, St. Francis who followed this instruction completely and reformed the whole of the Middle Ages and re-introduced the world to the idea of relying upon God’s providence, rather that trying to push God into our human thinking. We need to remember that God’s ways are very radical and challenging. Whenever we soften his instructions, we lose sight of the message. We must be single minded in the transmitting of the Gospel life. “Love of God first and foremost, then loving our neighbour, as ourselves, for God’s sake.” Love and care for each other, uniting ourselves with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, and we can produce the same results as those 72 who set off to prepare the way for the Lord.

God Bless us all in our new endeavour.
Deacon Vincent

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