Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
READINGS FOR THE COMING WEEK
- First reading and Psalm
- 2 Kings 5:1-14
- Psalm 30
- Alternate First reading and Psalm
- Isaiah 66:10-14
- Psalm 66:1-9
- Second reading
- Galatians 6:(1-6), 7-16
- Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
The gospel from Luke:
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.
Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house.
Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’ “Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
At a seminar, candidates for the ministry were each asked to write a sermon for the 4th of July Sunday. Such a sermon would have to do with freedom. So what is freedom’s relation to the Christian message? A University of Oklahoma professor wrote that freedom is unique to the Greek culture. The New Testament is the junction of two rivers coming from: Jerusalem and Athens. It was important to Paul. So freedom from what? We are given eternal life. We are not enslaved to sickness or death. Freedom means nothing controls you. The end of Paul’s letter to the Galatians has a fitting end. We are given freedom from sin and so are free. We do not enslave ourselves to vices. In Luke, Jesus sends out seventy disciples and tells them that the Kingdom of God, meaning Himself, is near. They come back saying that even demons submit to them. He Satan fall from Heaven. The seventy were an advanced guard that brought the idea of freedom. Satan’s grip was broken…….