Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples and said to them, “Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals” (Lk 10:3-4).
The opening of today’s Gospel continues the same theme of the past few days and that is the call of a radical dependence on God. Jesus sent his disciples out with no money, no credit cards, no sack, no luggage, no sandals, no Crocs. They were to rely solely on divine providence. They were taught by Jesus to believe and trust in the Father, and now they would put both to the test.
How well could we fare today? Do we even leave the house without our cell phones?
Jesus meets us and accepts as we are and where we are but calls us to go deeper, to expand beyond our present understanding and practices. We may say to ourselves that we are not capable of being a great saint but that would miss the point of who a saint is. A saint is not one who was great but one who chose to release that which kept him or her from receiving more of God in their life. They accepted and put into practice what God invited them to do.
We are lured by distractions, diversions, demands, and many material enticements. It is good to assess from time to time how much of what we have, what we think, and how we spend our time, is getting in the way of trusting in God and allowing him to expand us so as to receive more of him in our lives.
A periodic extended time of letting go is a wonderful practice. About two to three weeks before JoAnn died, we stopped watching TV because it was too uncomfortable for her. She needed quiet and stillness as much as possible. Even two years later, the only TV I watch is an NCIS episode on DVD while I eat supper, a rerun of an old show now and then or a few minutes of news once in a while. NCIS was JoAnn and my favorite show, so it is like having supper with her each night.
During the school year, I do not have that much free time anyway. The anchor points of my personal time are devoted to praying, meditating, and writing. I also enjoy walking but have only been able to return to about a twenty minute walk each evening the past few nights since I became sick in January. It is not only good but important to carve out some time in our day to be still and to spend time in the wondrous, beauty of God’s creation. As St. Mother Teresa taught, “God speaks in the silence of the heart.”
Photo: JoAnn and I spending some time together in the open air of the NW corner of CT before our move to Florida in the summer of 1997.