Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
- Isaiah 66:10-14
- Galatians 6:14-18
- Luke 10:1-2, 17-20
Today’s first reading for the fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – C Cycle, comes from the last chapter of Isaiah – chapter 66, which is part of the Deutero-Isaiah canon (meaning also Isaiah). Verses 10 – 14 are a continuation of a song that began in verse 7 that announces the virginal messianic birth; the ultimate flowering of the hope in God’s promise. These verses at the end of Isaiah connect with Isaiah 7:14 where we first read that a virgin will give birth to Immanuel (meaning; God with us). Verse 8 sings of the glory of God doing a new thing in His land. “Before she was in labor she gave birth; before her pain came upon her she was delivered of a son.” Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things?” There is no other woman in the history of our people that these verses can apply to but Mary, the Theotokos. Verses 10 – 14, in our readings today, offers a song of rejoicing about this woman as a maternal figure and calls us all to be glad of her and how God has used her to create a New Jerusalem that will be full of His grace.
In the second reading, Saint Paul is writing to the Church of Galatia. What Paul is dealing with in this whole letter is an issue in Galatia where some false teachers have been confusing these new Gentile converts to the faith; and here the Apostle in this closing paragraph is teaching the faithful that they are not to sow things of the flesh, “For he who sows to his own will from the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (v. 6:8). Boasting in one’s self; thinking we are something, when we are nothing is a deception of self, and this is why in today’s reading Saint Paul says “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.” This teaching of being crucified with Christ, Paul wrote about earlier in this letter to the Galatians, saying “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me” (2:20), and this is what Paul means in our readings today when says that the law of circumcision does matter, but what does matter is that we accept this reality, that in Christ we are Paul calls “a new creation”.
The Gospel of Luke continues this theme of rejoicing that God doing something completely new with His people. In today’s reading, Jesus appointed and sent out seventy-two disciples in pairs to every town and place that He intended to eventually visit. So, if you are doing your math that is to thirty-six different towns or places. Upon returning the disciples rejoiced in debriefing the Lord about their mission, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” In reply, 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.”
Together, these readings point to something you need to always remember about the liturgy of the memorial sacrifice; that through your participation in the Mass, God is doing something uniquely new with you. That through the sacraments, you truly are becoming a new creation.
While you were created naturally through the flesh, now supernaturally, through His love and grace, God is making you a new creation. From being born again, regenerated, receiving the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit through the Sacrament of Baptism and cleansed of the original sin, we become new in Christ and new in the Kingdom of God. Through the Sacrament of Confirmation, we are made new again by being anointed and sealed with the Holy Spirit. Through the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, God takes two things and makes them one new thing. Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, God anoints His child with a new mark and grafts him into the order of Melchizedek, making him a priest forever. Through the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, we eat God and become like God.
The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is the only Sacrament, that reminds us most clearly of the new thing that God is doing with us because it is the only Sacrament that takes a thing that is truly dead and transubstantiates into something truly alive. The wheat that was once alive and the grape that once lived, are now dead and by the natural work of human hands have become bread and wine, but at the words of consecration, they supernaturally become that which they never were, they become truly alive as a real person – the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Similarly, we too who were once dead, become alive through Christ and His Church. We become alive in a way that we naturally could have never achieved through the work our own hands; rather only by accepting our nothingness and by being crucified in Christ, are we made new for His service.
So next time you are at Mass, I would like you to keep this reality with you during the liturgy; that God is actively in the process of making you into a new thing – a new creation, and through the Holy Eucharist is equipping you with everything you need to leave the Mass and to go recreate the world in His image. To take a dead world and to make it alive in Christ.
This is just one way how the readings at Mass this Sunday connect to the liturgy and how the liturgy is forming us how to live our lives in the world. Be in the world what you have received through the liturgy.