Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time C
Readings: Is 66:10-14c; Gal 6:14-18; Lk 10:1-12,17-20
Nourishment from mother’s milk, abundant breasts, abundant harvest, few workers and starvation for food, are some of the images that help us to capture the message of this Sunday. The prophet Isaiah in the first reading uses the image of sucking milk from abundant breasts to help us see the link between us and our mother Church which is so intimate and real. It is also a matter of life and death. We are told to drink fully of the milk of her comfort and nurse with delight at her abundant breasts. Years ago there was a picture of a mother and her baby in Ethiopia during one of the worst droughts that brought a horrible famine and starvation there. The mother could not eat enough food to produce milk for her baby. She sat there, her eyes glazed over with suffering beyond imagination. She sat helplessly watching her baby crying and dying of starvation. The Church faces a similar dilemma today. The children that need nourishment are so numerous that at times she sits and watches some starving to death. Others do not see the need of being nourished. They die of spiritual starvation.
Jesus in the Gospel sends out his disciples on a mission of feeding the multitudes who are hungry and thirsting for God’s Word; those who yearn for peace and for healing. They so urgently need nourishment, healing and peace. Yes, the harvest is ripe, but at times wasting in the fields; we need more hands; we need more disciples to feed more people and bring about the so much needed peace. It is so easy to get bogged down in institutions wonderful as they are, and forget the main focus of our ministry. The purpose of our mission is to nourish God’s people - those who are hungering and thirsting for the Word of God. In the midst of human brokenness, they need wholeness; in the midst of disintegrating married life, they yearn for reconciliation and forgiveness; in the midst of spiritual dehydration, they search for spiritual water to restore their strength. All they are looking for is a word that touches them right now. In the Gospel, Luke uses several images to help us understand the kind of Kingdom the disciples have to announce. The first image is the harvest being abundant. From a human perspective we need a human solution, organize a workshop on vocations, employ a vocations director, mobilize the parishes and round up all the young men and women! Jesus' solution is very simple: pray to the Lord of the harvest to send workers. In contrast, our human tendency is action: setting a task-force to study the matter and writing volumes of books! Of course we need both prayer and action. Prayer will nourish and help us discern what we need to do today for the future. So what message do we take home this Sunday? 1) You and I are invited to be nourished from the breasts of our dear mother Church, so that we will remain strong to go and nourish others; 2) Jesus sent his disciples to nourish people by proclaiming God's gift of healing, peace and reconciliation. We too are sent to do no less, to be instruments of healing, peace and reconciliation 3) Prayer, Scripture reading and ongoing faith formation in the parish are essential for our spiritual nourishment and survival. Think about it.
©2013 John S. Mbinda