Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, Priest (Optional Memorial)

 

Rejoice because your names are written in heaven. 

 

This was probably the first time many of these disciples went out to preach and perform miracles.   Imagine how nervous they must have been—and how excited to see so much success.   Even demons heeded them because of Jesus’ name (Luke 10:17)!

But what if events had played out differently?   What if they had come back distressed because they couldn’t perform any miracles?   Would Jesus have criticized them or condemned them?

Probably not.   Look at how he responded in other situations when the disciples did fail.   When they couldn’t heal an epileptic boy, he corrected them, but he didn’t berate them (Mark 9:17-24).   He responded in a similar way when his disciples woke Jesus because they were afraid their boat was going to capsize (Luke 8:22-25).

So when the disciples come to Jesus thrilled with their success in today’s Gospel (Luke 10:20), he affirms them, but he also cautions them not to focus only on their performance.   He wants them to know that their relationship with him is just as important as, if not more than, miracles.   He wants them to grasp the privilege of being citizens of heaven.

It’s easy to get caught up in being “productive” Christians.  It’s natural to feel a sense of affirmation and godly pride when we exercise our faith and see God work through us.   But what if we became unable to do those things—maybe through illness or maybe because our efforts just seemed to go nowhere?

When this happens, keep a couple of things in mind.   First, Jesus cares for all of us, even those who can’t “produce” anything.   Think of an infant or someone lying unresponsive in a hospital bed.   Their dignity is undiminished, and his love is undimmed.

Second, God loves who you are much more than what you do for him.   He knows how much you’re trying to do for his kingdom—and where you can do better.   As he did for the disciples, he will affirm the work you are doing and help you see how you might go even further.

And third, Jesus always calls you his own.   And that’s more than enough cause for rejoicing!

“Lord, I am happy to be your child.   Thank you for your love!”

Baruch 4:5-12, 27-29
Psalm 69:33-37

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