As told in today’s Gospel Jesus sends out 72 disciples two by two to prepare
people for his eventual visit to their towns. This first “mission” is not much
different from the one entrusted to the whole Church for all ages to come. It is
the Church’s mission to prepare people to know Jesus as redeemer and to
welcome him when he comes again, “to judge the living and the dead.” Sticking
with this year’s Gospel according to Luke, it is put in these terms: “Thus it is
written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and
that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all
the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”
Although Jesus sends out his disciples bearing a gospel of peace, he knows
that they will meet opposition. Opposition to the Church and her gospel has
been a reality throughout the Church’s history. Sometimes it has taken the form
of failure to listen or outright rejection of the message. Sometimes it has turned
violent and has resulted in the martyrdom of thousands. Nevertheless the
In today’s First Reading, which dates from the period just before the
Babylonian Exile in 587 BC, God promises restoration even on the eve of
destruction. Despite the loss of their homeland as a consequence of their
infidelity to the covenant, God promises not to abandon his people forever.
Jerusalem, once mourned by her exiled citizens, would one day welcome them
back home as a place of life and consolation. This was the work of God the
redeemer, whose love never fails.
This week I am beginning my annual vacation at the home farm. I have
some hay to make and hope to scout out some oats with the hope of being able
to have a threshing event again this year. A priest friend of mine from the
Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis will be joining me this week. I will be
back on the weekends. In the meantime I leave you in the care of our diocese’s
newest priest, Father Ethan Hokamp. He is also our diocese’s youngest priest
and will celebrate his 26 th birthday this Thursday, July 11. Happy birthday, Father
Pray the Rosary this week for our priests and seminarians. Pray for good
weather and the conditions needed for so much farm work to be done. Pray for
those in our country who have been affected by wildfires, or who are still
recovering from tornadoes or floods and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.