|Summertime for many people here in North America means vacation. I grew up in the Midwest and during the summer we would travel to the East coast to spend time with my mother’s family. My parents would load the four kids in the station wagon with books and games to keep us occupied for the long car ride across the country. We each made sure we had our swimming suits for the lake and sandals to wear to the ice cream shop. Magically our parents never seemed to forget to pack proper clothes for us to wear to Mass and to trips into the city. We had so much fun on this cultural exchange of sorts with our cousins comparing accents and local phrases. The memories from those trips are cherished.
Those memories of childhood travels came flooding back when I read today’s Gospel from Luke. The scene of Jesus talking with the 72 disciples is easy for me to imagine. I can sense the energy of the group of people who are about to set out to share the word of God. They must be feeling a range of emotions from joy to fear. As I place myself in the crowd with my fellow disciples I am trying to carefully listen to Jesus. While I trust Jesus, I do feel nervous when I hear him say he is sending us like lambs to wolves. There is a lot of rumbling about not bringing anything with us…. no money bag, no sack, no sandals and Jesus tells us we are not to greet anyone along the way. We know how difficult it is to travel in this countryside and not having essential supplies feels very risky.
Yet we have accepted this call from Jesus because of our faith in him. With courage and trust in Jesus and one another, my traveling companion and I get ready to go and share the word. A calm sense of purpose came over me as soon as Jesus instructed us to enter a home with the phrase “Peace to this household.” I feel humbled and ready to receive whatever food, drink and shelter are offered to me and my companion. And Jesus has assured us that if a town is not open to receive us, we are to shake the dust off our feet and move on. We are grounded in the words Jesus instructs us to share: “The Kingdom of God is at hand.”
After this rich contemplation, I reflect upon my life as a modern-day disciple. How often do I embrace the role of disciple? Do I create opportunities to model my faith? When I am packing for a trip or preparing for a meeting, what can I do to lead with peace in my heart? When someone is sharing their love of God through their words or their actions, do I greet them with generosity? How can I be more accepting of a person who does not share my worldview? I pray to Jesus for the grace to share my faith and to be open to the wisdom of others.
Summer road trips now have a new meaning!