“I BEAR THE MARKS OF JESUS” (Gal 6:17
⏰Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)
Isa 66:10-14c; Ps 66:1-3a, 4-5, 6-7a, 16 and 20 (R.v.1); Gal 6:14-18; Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
“I BEAR THE MARKS OF JESUS” (Gal 6:17)
“May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Gal 6:18), Amen.
Last Sunday, we noted that anyone who is in Christ is a new creation (cf. 2 Cor 5:17). That is the reason St. Paul could make this all important claim today, in the Second Reading, saying that he bears the mark of Jesus (Gal 6:18). In fact, in another place, he makes it more categorical, “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). Consider the perspective from which Paul makes both claims; it is based on his association with the Cross of Christ (cf. Gal 2:20, 6:14). This tells us that St. Paul understood and responded positively to Christ’s invitation to us to carry our crosses daily and follow him.
Before now, Paul had noted that such union with Jesus guarantees true freedom (cf. Gal 5:1, 13) and now, he articulates that his joy and glory comes from that only (cf. Gal 6:14). Why would it not be so for him when we consider that in relation to First Reading where the prophet Isaiah describes the fortunes of Jerusalem and its inhabitants based on the actions of God upon it. There, Jerusalem is described as a place of joy, satisfaction, abundance, and comfort. Remember that Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem. When he gets there, he is going to bring to fulfilment, that prophecy of Isaiah. Only those who bear his mark on their body would hear him and be with him in Jerusalem.
Here comes the all important message of today: Discipleship begins with having the mark of Jesus in us, but must extend to carrying him to others. Remember that we said, last Sunday, that to live outside of him means death (cf. John 3:36). So it is a very important duty for every disciple of Christ to carry him about and spread him to all the ends of the earth. That is the meaning of the seventy others who were sent in today’s Gospel.
Contrast this sending of the seventy from the previous sending of the twelve. While the twelve could be a representation of the twelve tribes of Israel, seventy could be understood as a universal representation. In the Jewish tradition, the number of the nations of the earth is seventy. So, this sending of the seventy others is an invitation to all to join in the mission of taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth. By the way, we can equally impose the idea of the Church’s teaching on the ministerial priesthood and ordinary priesthood of Christ on this, where the ministerial priesthood is given to a few and the ordinary priesthood given to all Christ’s faithful.
Are you involved in that mission already? What is holding back?
The Gospel also tells us of the urgency of this mission. Beyond that, it is a mission that avoids distraction of any kind. That is why Jesus told them not to carry any extra thing that might drag them down. That is to also help them remember that they depend on Divine Providence because the work they do belongs to God.
This calls every one of us to make an introspection into what gingers to work for God. I just asked myself now these questions: “Am I priest because of material gains or because I want to serve God and God’s people? Is salvation my goal?”
Today’s liturgy is reminding me that it is all for God. What of you?
May God grant us the grace to live our lives at all times for him so that we shall also share his life with him in Jerusalem.
Have a joyful Sunday under the protective watch of God. Peace be with you.