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, in your name even the demons submit to us!

They discovered that, in his name, they were able to do the same things that Jesus did.

In reply, Jesus said to them:

I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning.

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 have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will 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 to:

…rejoice that 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:

All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

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 that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see but did not see it and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

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 – we 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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