FOURTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
The readings from this reflection: Is 66:10; Ps 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20; Gal 6:14-18; Lk 10:1-12, 17-20
“Let all the earth cry out to God with joy” —Psalm 66
Lectionary guides remind us that the refrain from the responsorial Psalm gives us a unifying guide to the passages of a particular day. Today’s refrain comes to light when we see the beautiful image of Jerusalem in our reading from Isaiah 66:10-14. This passage also forms the Old Testament canticle for the Fourth Thursday morning prayer of our Liturgy of the Hours. Its situation in the prayer is part of a beautiful panorama offered throughout the Bible regarding Jerusalem, and as an image of the Kingdom of God, referred to as “The New Jerusalem, the Holy City, coming down out of heaven from God” (Revelation 21:10).
Often on a Sunday, we are looking for a message to end in a concrete action for us, the listeners, to fulfill. Our Gospel today ends with the 72 others Jesus had sent ahead of him, reporting their success and how the spirits were subject to them. Jesus responded by saying, “Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).
Occasionally on a Sunday, it is good that we simply take in the beauty and notice as God did, “It is good,” and then rest as the Lord did on his sabbath day. I recall my first acquaintance with the hills of southern Missouri. Fresh from high school graduation and two weeks later in summer classes at College of the Ozarks. Passing through the hills on the old highway 65, they were a great contrast from the cornfields of central Illinois. I was astounded at the beauty of the hills. Our first Sunday on campus, we were treated to the choir singing the school hymn, “Lift up thine eyes unto the hills, for there thy strength is found,” from Psalm 121. The sound was a match for the beauty of the countryside.
When the Catechism of the Catholic Church takes up the 8th commandment, the last section, #2500 – 2503, is entitled “Truth, Beauty and Sacred Art.” With all the attention given today to the literal aspects of the commandment, this last one, to simply soak in the beauty, is something for which today’s world longs more fervently.
There is so much beauty around us. God’s word is a summit of this beauty, and a faithful guide to point it out to us as we pass through this life, looking for its fulfillment in the next.
Fr. Hodgson is Pastor of St. Edward Parish, Cassville, and Holy Family Parish, in Shell Knob. He also serves as Dean of Deanery 2.