THURSDAY HOMILY: 26TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A)
By: Bishop Kevin
THEME: Walk with Me
Gospel – Luke 10:1-9
Throughout this whole long (and I do mean long, painfully long) recovery process from my knee injury, there has been one constant – Ginger! She has been my nurse, my disciplinarian, my guide, my support, my shadow. I do not go anywhere, do anything, without her by my side. You’re walking too fast; slow down. Don’t turn so quickly! Pay attention to where you’re going. Where’s your cane? As slow as this process has been, I would be a lot farther behind without her presence and encouragement. Stuck!
Jesus lays out quite clearly in today’s Gospel His own set of instructions, the recipe for being a disciple, a follower of Christ. Step by step, He tells us what to do, what not to do, what to bring, what not to bring. He instructs us how to handle rejection and how to respond to a welcoming faith. It’s all there; we just have to follow it step by step.
And yet I believe His most important instruction happens in today’s opening verse. “Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit.” He did not send them out alone; He sent them out in pairs, with a partner, a fellow traveler. He knew there would be times of doubt, of loss of vision, or of despair. And so He sent them out two by two, to support each other, to encourage each other, to be a source of hope and constancy!
Just a few days ago, Bishop Kevin Birmingham, Bishop of my vicariate here in Chicago, passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly. He would have celebrated his 52nd birthday this coming Saturday. We are all still reeling in shock from the news. And yet, through the tears, I am reminded that one of his greatest qualities was that of being a true shepherd and disciple!
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He walked with us! He walked with me. He was one of the most pastoral bishops I have ever known. Whenever our paths crossed, he would always go out of his way to check on me and see how I was doing. He always took the time to listen to my concerns and offer wise advice and counsel. He always made me feel that, whatever path I was on, I was not alone. I can still remember the first time we ever met. Before Mass started, he went out into the church and walked through all the pews, taking the time to introduce himself personally to each and every person. He took the time to be there for us. And isn’t that exactly what a true shepherd does? No matter the time or day, Bishop Kevin made me (us) feel that he was right there walking with us, supporting us, encouraging us!
Isn’t that a true example of a shepherd? And isn’t that exactly the kind of disciple that Jesus sends out (2 by 2) in today’s Gospel? We are all called to be disciples! And we are all reminded today that the journey of a disciple, that journey of faith, is never a solitary one!
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