Wednesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
(Proverbs 30:5-9; Luke 9:1-6)
Death is our biggest fear and greatest natural threat. It may be considered the work of the devil. It is not so bad when it comes after a long life. The one who has lived eighty-five or ninety years may even welcome death as the end to the pains and humiliations of old age. But when it threatens a young person or someone in middle age, it becomes a scourge. For this reason Jesus gives his choice Twelve disciples power over demons and the ability to cure diseases.
Their mission is to proclaim the Kingdom of God. This is no monarchial territory but the reign of justice and peace. Subjects of the Kingdom are to live righteously, but they are freed from the terror of an early death. The Kingdom’s full beneficence is not revealed until the end of the gospel. It bestows not only a long, worthwhile life but also the prospect of eternal bliss. Those who prove themselves righteous will share in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
It is fashionable today to reject eternal life as fanciful. Some try to content themselves with following the customs and most of the commandments of Christianity. They reason that these traditions provide a satisfying rhythm to life and a more or less workable morality. Not only will this mental picture prove insufficient when life’s challenges mount, but it also betrays the wisdom of today’s first reading. We are to accept the gospel in its entirety. We also walk as Jesus’ his disciples – poor but not wanting with the gracious help of one another. With those disciples as well we look up the road to an eternal destiny where every need is more than satisfied.