Gospel: Luke 10:17-24
The seventy-two disciples returned full of joy. They said, “Lord, even the demons obeyed us when we called on your name.” Then Jesus replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. You see, I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the Enemy, so that nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, don’t rejoice because the evil spirits submit to you; rejoice, rather, that your names are written in heaven.”
At that time, Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and made them known to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. I have been given all things by my Father, so that no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son, and he to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said to them privately, “Fortunate are you to see what you see, for I tell you, that many prophets and kings would have liked to see what you see, but did not see it; and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
“I have given you authority.”
Many have asked if I possess the gift of healing, just like my good friend Roselle whose sick father-in-law I anointed in the hospital. According to her, he had been confined to his bed in the past months. But a few hours after the anointing, he stood up from bed and asked for milk! I sensed her excitement, but I am not sure if she sensed my bewilderment.
Our gospel today forms part of the conclusion of the mission- sending of the 72 disciples. By this time, they returned to the company of Jesus bringing along thrilling success stories from their missionary undertakings. But Jesus was quick to remind them: “I have given you authority….” What they have accomplished did not flow from their inherent capabilities, but from a power whose source is Jesus. My friend’s father-in-law survived for a few weeks before he finally went home to the Father, but it was not I who gave him those few more weeks to live!
At the outset, Jesus’ words may appear more appropriate for us who are in the ministry and ser- vice of the Church. But a closer reflection reveals that the lesson is important for all Christians as well: we cannot be successful on our own; it is only with and through Jesus that we can accomplish great things. Remember, Jesus says in John 15:5 that “… apart from me you can do nothing.”
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