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14CIsaiah 66:10-14c / Galatians 6:14-18/ Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
The Gospel is pretty straightforward this week.

It’s a wonderful and spiritually rich Gospel. . . .
but it’s message—is simple.

God sends us all on mission to prepare the way of Jesus.

And this mission can be tough—
Violent even—
like sheep among wolves.

And in this challenging and sometimes dangerous environment—
Depend only on Jesus.

Depend only on Jesus.

Simple hey!!!

God sends us on mission—

It can be like being sheep among the wolves—

Depend only on Jesus.

St. Ignatius of Loyola had been wounded in battle—
bedridden with his leg shattered from
a direct hit from a canon ball.

And while he was bedridden he would daydream.

He would spend sometimes two or three hours
daydreaming about the worldly pursuits he desired.

While not daydreaming,
he asked for some books to read—
they brought him a book on the life of Jesus
and a book about the saints.

And after reading these books—
he would also daydream about being a great saint—
About doing great things for Christ—
About being another St. Dominic or St. Francis.
So, Ignatius had these dueling daydreams—
worldly pursuits—
or being a great saint.

“And one day,”
his autobiography reads,
“his eyes were opened.”

And he realized that it was the
daydream about doing great things for
Jesus that really excited him—
It was this daydream that gave his life meaning.

When thinking about this daydream—
the joy was greater—
and the joy stayed with him.

So he asked himself,
“Why can’t I do great things for Jesus
like St. Dominic and St. Francis.

Why couldn’t he?

And the rest is history—
Even today the Jesuits are the
largest religious order in the Church.

One author who wrote about St. Ignatius
calls his discovery—
his eyes being opened—
and the mission he followed—
as Ignatius’ “Sacred Story.”

That’s nice isn’t it:
“Sacred Story.”

What’s our “Sacred Story?”

What’s our “Sacred Story” that
God wants us to write with our vey lives—
that will be recorded in God’s Book of Life.

“What’s our “Sacred Story”?
What’s our mission?”

Now I certainly don’t have the call—
nor the talent—
nor the vision—
to start a religious order.

Probably not you either.

What great things can we do for God?

Well, I think we take a page out of
the playbook of St. Therese on this one.

Do good things—
Do the small things—
Do the ordinary things. . .

And do them well—
And do them for Jesus.

The great St. John Chrysostom
said the most amazing thing.

He preached that it is a greater work for God
for us to be kind to someone—
than to raise the dead.

He preached that it is a greater work for God
for us to feed the hungry—
than to raise the dead.

What’s our Sacred Story?

I’m doing a novena to the Holy Spirit and
here is a line from one of the prayers:

[Holy Spirit] loosen our tongues to sing your praises and
to proclaim the Gospel of salvation to all.

Loosen our tongues to sing your praises and
to proclaim the Gospel of salvation to all.

What’s our Sacred Story?

A few months ago,
a man came into my office to talk.

I had just gotten there—
it was a little after 8:30 in the morning.

I had met with the guy a few times before.

He would pop in
ever-so often after his
evening shift was over and
before he drove back home to an adjacent county.

He had whiskey on his breathe—

He had tears in eyes—
the stream flowing down his cheeks
a little faster—
the tide of tears surging a little higher—
this time.

He was more distraught
than I had seen him before.

And he starting spilling his guts—

And it was the same issues
that he had gurgled up before.

Same old family problems.

More difficulties at work.

Challenging relationships—
Wounded people struggling to be in relationship
with other wounded people.

Personal issues—
falling into the same old sins over and over again.

So disappointed that he was not
the person that he wanted to be.

So disappointed that he was not the person
that he knew God had created him to be.

We’ve all been there at one time or another.

Oh, how my heart ached for him—
I was in the presence of a hurting man—
A struggling man—
and a beloved child of God.

My tear ducts started to work too.

I bet Jesus was weeping too.

He said,
“Father, things are never going to change for me!!!”

“I just can’t get it right!”

“I try to do what I’m supposed to do.”

“I check all the boxes.”

“I do this. . . and I do that.”

“I go to mass.”

“I say the morning offering.”

“I pray before I go to bed.”

“I abstain from meat on Fridays.”

“I check all the boxes.”

More tears.

And I looked at him.

Two teary eyed men looking at each—
Two wounded men—

Neither having any illusions about how the world can be—
And no illusions about fallen selves.

And I told him the answer he needed to hear—
It’s the answer we all need to hear.

“My Brother,” I said,
“there is one box that you didn’t check.”

“And it’s the most important one.”

“It’s the one box that must be checked.”

“You must throw yourself into the
loving and merciful arms of God. . . .

because in the end—
in the end—
that’s all any of us have.”

And that’s the Truth.

Whether we’re on mission and writing our “Sacred Story”—
And out like sheep among the wolves—

Or whether we’re just trying to survive day by day—
just trying to fight off the wolves of life—

In the end,
throwing ourselves into the
loving and merciful God is all we have.

We can’t save ourselves.

“As a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you!” says the Lord

And even the demons—
And even the wolves—
in the end—
will bow at the feet of Jesus.

Even the demons—
And even the wolves—
Will be subject are to his Name.

Oh, how spiritually rich is today’s Gospel—
Yet so simple.

God sends us on mission to prepare the way of Jesus—
to write our “Sacred Story”

And sometimes on this mission—
and sometimes in life—
it’s like being a sheep among wolves.

And in this challenging and sometimes dangerous environment—
Depend only on Jesus—
Depend only on Jesus—
Throwing ourselves into his loving and merciful arms. . . .

And don’t be a wolf!

Be a sheep who follows Jesus—
Be a sheep who is held
and caressed
and protected by the Good Shepherd.

Holy Spirit 07/06/19