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Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Baruch 4:5-12 27-29 & Lk. 10:17-24

A beautiful appreciation of God’s eagerness to forgive is reflected in today's first reading. The Israelites had been guilty of abandoning God so many times and as a result they had been driven out of their homeland. Now Baruch exhorts them to take courage and have hope that God will deliver them. “For as He brought down those disasters on you, so will He rescue you and give you eternal joy.” As we read this passage it should give us hope.

Whether committed by the Israelites or by us, sin acts as a wedge separating us from God. But God is a God of love and forgiveness. He is aware of our weakness. As we take courage in God and cry out to Him in repentance for our ceaseless offences we will know the love of our all-merciful Father. Our God of forgiveness is worthy of thanks and praise. It is right that in the Eucharist we lift our hearts to Him in joyful recognition that in His forgiveness we experience what our God is truly like.

When the 72 disciples returned from their missionary journeys, Jesus thanked the Father for revealing Himself so generously, both to them, and through them to those around them. The disciples were excited as they saw demons fleeing at the mere mention of Jesus’ name, and Jesus rejoiced with them. The long awaited kingdom of God was on the horizon. The fact that these disciples – mere men – had power over demons was a definitive sign of this kingdom. A new era was dawning and the disciples were privileged to help usher it in.

More important than their power over demons, Jesus told the disciples, was that they should rejoice in the knowledge that their names were written in Heaven. This privilege – something available to all of us - far outweighed any authority they might have over the powers of darkness. Their eyes had been opened to see Jesus and to receive His love in their hearts. Their lives had been transformed by His Spirit, and they were learning to love one another as fully as Jesus loved them. What could be more wonderful than that?

Lord Jesus, set our hearts aflame with love for You, and then we shall be able to proclaim the Gospel to everyone we meet and, like the disciples, our names will be written in Heaven with theirs.

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