Saturday of week 26 of Ordinary Time – Gospel


Commentary on Luke 10:17-24

We saw at the beginning of chapter 10 how Jesus had sent his 72 disciples out to all the places where he himself would visit. Today we see them returning full of joy and satisfaction. “Lord, even the demons were subject to us in your name.” They discovered that, in his name, they were able to do the same things that Jesus did.

In reply, Jesus said to them: “I saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” The power of evil is being reversed and this was partly the doing of his disciples working in his name. And he further reassures them: “I give you the power to tread on snakes and scorpions and over the power of the enemy: nothing at all will be able to hurt you.”

‘Snakes and scorpions’ more likely represent evil powers and so the statement is not to be taken literally and still less to be tested (as some obscure sects have tried to do with predictably tragic consequences!). It is true that for the committed disciple nothing can really hurt them. Physically, maybe, but not their real selves. Nothing, as Paul says, can separate us from the love of God, that is, the love that God extends to us at every moment of every day.

Then Jesus tells his disciples the real reason why they should be happy. It is not because they have special powers over evil spirits but “because your names are written in heaven”. In other words, their blessedness comes not from what they are able to do but because they have been chosen as the instruments for God to do his work, to make the Kingdom a reality. That is the origin of our blessedness too.

Then follows a beautiful prayer of Jesus to the Father. He thanks the Father because all that is coming into the world through Jesus is being made known not to the wise and great ones of this world but to “the little ones”, the people who, in the eyes of the majority, are of no account. No one really knows the Son except the Father. And no one really knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son reveals the Father.

And, since that day on the lake shore when Jesus called four fishermen to be his followers, he has been calling very ordinary people to know his identity, to hear his message and share his vision.

And so he can say truly to them, “Blessed are the eyes which see what you see. Many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see and have not seen them, to hear what you have heard and not heard them.”

All of this applies to so many of us, too. We, for reasons only known to God himself, have been given knowledge of the Son. We too, by means of the Church, have been given a vision denied to so many, have heard the Word which is the Way to truth and life.

Whatever problems we may be facing right now, let us on this day count our blessings and express our gratitude for them. And the only way to do that is to say ‘Yes’ to Jesus and his Gospel. Let us start doing that right now.

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