Daily Reflection
October 18th, 2005

Tom Purcell

Accounting Department
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Feast of St. Luke, evangelist
2 Timothy 4:10-17b
Psalm 145:10-11, 12-13, 17-18
Luke 10:1-9

In today's gospel, Luke recounts when Jesus sends a group of disciples out into the world to spread His message. On this most recent reflection, I find the interesting part of the account not so much the sending, but the ground rules Jesus gives the disciples for how they are to proceed on their journey. He told them to go unburdened by material items, to be like lambs, to trust in the good will of the people they encountered, to rely on their hosts for food and drink, and to eat what is placed before them.

We might find these ideals troublesome today. How often have any of us taken a journey into unknown territory and not prepared in some way for the unexpected? We take maps (or GPS locators), and food, and pack our vehicles or bags with extra clothing, and tools and implements with which we anticipate we can meet any emergency. We cluck our tongues at those who are unprepared (many times as we drive by them on the highway), who then are stranded or beset by the unforeseen, who didn¹t have the common sense (that we so smugly ascribe to ourselves) to properly prepare for their journey.

We extol the virtue of being prepared, the (boy) scout attitude of anticipating every eventuality.

Yet Jesus calls His missioned 72 to go into the world intentionally unprepared. Jesuits (and others) replicate this call many times in their religious formation. Why? How? I can't think of leaving, even for a short journey across Iowa to visit my aunt, without some preparation. Is Jesus calling us to be foolish? To be naïve? To be Pollyannas?

I don't think Jesus would look askance at my making sure there is enough gas in my car before I start across Iowa, or to take along money to pay for more gas and supplies as I travel. I think Jesus is calling us to have a faith-filled attitude toward our preparations, both as missioned disciples and throughout our life journeys. I think Jesus calls us to be unburdened by material items, not to ignore their usefulness but to keep in perspective that they are not ends in themselves, but merely tools for us to use while we are in our bodily state. I think Jesus calls us to have the attitudes of lambs, to be humble and gentle and peaceful in our dealings with others. I think Jesus calls us to be trustful in expecting others to treat us with good will, not to be suspicious without grounds or to expect that others will treat us unjustly. I think Jesus calls us to be grateful for the gifts that others share with us, not to question the quality but to look for the good in what we receive and accept the generosity of those who give to us.

And so my prayer for today is that God increase my faith so my attitude can reflect the ground rules Jesus gives us.

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