14th Week in Ordinary Time

First reading: Is. 66:10–14c

Thus says the LORD: Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her, all you who love her; exult, exult with her, all you who were mourning over her! Oh, that you may suck fully of the milk of her comfort, that you may nurse with delight at her abundant breasts! For thus says the LORD: Lo, I will spread prosperity over Jerusalem like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent. As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms, and fondled in her lap; as a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort.

When you see this, your heart shall rejoice and your bodies flourish like the grass; the LORD’s power shall be known to his servants.

Second reading: Gal. 6:14–18

Brothers and sisters: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision, but only a new creation. Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule and to the Israel of God.
From now on, let no one make troubles for me; for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.

Gospel: Lk. 10:1–12,17–20

At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’ Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, ‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.’ Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand. I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.”
The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power to ‘tread upon serpents’ and  scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

In other words Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD (Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay City)

Sana huwag kang magbago.” (I hope you will not change.) Innocent and well-meaning remark. However, a reflective person might translate it negatively, such as “I hope you remain retarded.” Most probably, the innocent remark really means, “May you remain generous, kind, thoughtful, etc.” 

Huwag kang magbabago” literally goes against the flow of life, which is continuous growth and moving on. Like plants, growth is in their nature: from seeds to seedlings to mature plants. Even when they reach old age and begin to dry up, their seeds continue to start the process of growing again. No wonder a saying runs, “You do not grow old; when you stop growing, then you are old” (candidate for the cemetery).

In the second reading today St. Paul proclaims, “All that matters is that one is created anew.” The Gospel narrates how Jesus chose seventy-two helpers to announce the coming of God’s kingdom, a kingdom that asks for repentance and renewal.

For us baptized Christians, the task given to us is to change for the better continually, move forward, renew our old selves, and reach the likeness of Jesus to whom we were configured in baptism.

Come to think of it, it would be much better and more meaningful to greet someone with, “Sana mas maging mabait ka pa!” (I hope you will become even more kind!)

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