Thursday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time - Thursday, 5th October 2017
Reading 1, Nehemiah 8:1-4, 5-6, 7-12
3 In the square in front of the Water Gate, in the presence of the men and women, and of those old enough to understand, he read from the book from dawn till noon; all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.
4 The scribe Ezra stood on a wooden dais erected for the purpose; beside him stood, on his right, Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah and Maaseiah; on his left, Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam.
5 In full view of all the people -- since he stood higher than them all -- Ezra opened the book; and when he opened it, all the people stood up.
6 Then Ezra blessed Yahweh, the great God, and all the people raised their hands and answered, 'Amen! Amen!'; then they bowed down and, face to the ground, prostrated themselves before Yahweh.
7 And Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabab, Hanan, Pelaiah, who were Levites, explained the Law to the people, while the people all kept their places.
8 Ezra read from the book of the Law of God, translating and giving the sense; so the reading was understood.
9 Then His Excellency Nehemiah and the priest-scribe Ezraand the Levites who were instructing the people said to all the people, 'Today is sacred to Yahweh your God. Do not be mournful, do not weep.' For the people were all in tears as they listened to the words of the Law.
10 He then said, 'You may go; eat what is rich, drink what is sweet and send a helping to the man who has nothing prepared. For today is sacred to our Lord. Do not be sad: the joy of Yahweh is your stronghold.'
11 And the Levites calmed all the people down, saying, 'Keep quiet; this is a sacred day. Do not be sad.'
12 Then all the people went off to eat and drink and give helpings away and enjoy themselves to the full, since they had understood the meaning of what had been proclaimed to them.
The Word of the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 19:8, 9, 10, 11
The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
10 more desirable than gold, even than the finest gold; his words are sweeter than honey, that drips from the comb.
11 Thus your servant is formed by them; observing them brings great reward.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Kingdom of God is at hand;
repent and believe in the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel, Luke 10:1-12
"The kingdom of God has come near to you"
1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself would be visiting.
2 And he said to them, 'The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to do his harvesting.
3 Start off now, but look, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.
4 Take no purse with you, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road.
5 Whatever house you enter, let your first words be, "Peace to this house!"
7 Stay in the same house, taking what food and drink they have to offer, for the labourer deserves his wages; do not move from house to house.
8 Whenever you go into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is put before you.
9 Cure those in it who are sick, and say, "The kingdom of God is very near to you."
10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not make you welcome, go out into its streets and say,
11 "We wipe off the very dust of your town that clings to our feet, and leave it with you. Yet be sure of this: the kingdom of God is very near."
12 I tell you, on the great Day it will be more bearable for Sodom than for that town.
The Gospel of the Lord.
We are called to speak and witness in God's name
Reflection: What is the significance of Jesus appointing seventy disciples to the ministry of the word? Seventy was a significant number in biblical times. Moses chose seventy elders to help him in the task of leading the people through the wilderness. The Jewish Sanhedrin, the governing council for the nation of Israel, was composed of seventy members. In Jesus' times seventy was held to be the number of nations throughout the world. Jesus commissioned the seventy to a two-fold task - to speak in his name and to act with his power.
Jesus gave his disciples instructions for how they were to carry out their ministry. They must go and serve as people without guile, full of charity (selfless giving in love) and peace, and simplicity. They must give their full attention to the proclamation of God's kingdom and not be diverted by other lesser things. They must travel light - only take what was essential and leave behind whatever would distract them - in order to concentrate on the task of speaking the word of the God. They must do their work, not for what they can get out of it, but for what they can give freely to others, without expecting reward or payment. "Poverty of spirit" frees us from greed and preoccupation with possessions and makes ample room for God’s provision. The Lord Jesus wants his disciples to be dependent on him and not on themselves.
God gives us his life-giving word that we may have abundant life in him. He wills to work in and through each of us for his glory. God shares his word with us and he commissions us to speak it boldly and plainly to others. Do you witness the truth and joy of the Gospel by word and example to those around you?
God's word grows like a seed within us
Prayer: "Lord Jesus, may the joy and truth of the Gospel transform my life that I may witness it to those around me. Grant that I may spread your truth and merciful love wherever I go." Amen.
Be a sower of God's word of peace and mercy.