Blog # 341 ...in God's Love
Chapter 10: vv 1 - 20 of Luke 's Gospel gives the story of Jesus sending out disciples to the places He intended to visit and the excitement the disciples exhibit when they come back to Jesus reporting that even the demons were cast out through their message. Jesus responds by telling them (v. 18) He "watched Satan fall from the sky like lightning" Then in v. 20 He tells them "do not rejoice so much in the fact the devils are subject to you as that your names are inscribed in heaven."
Throughout the world Mother Teresa of Calcutta was acknowledged as a holy person. She accomplished a great deal in her love for the poor and afflicted. Yet if we study her life and the talks she gave on occasions of dedicating hospitals and places of refuge for the poor, it is evident that, in her own mind, her holiness did not consist so much in what she accomplished as in her personal relationship with God. It was in God's Name and with God's power within herself that she did what she did and said what she said. And it has been this way with holy people down though the ages.
In the Gospel passage from Luke that I have cited Jesus reinforces that testimony of Mother Teresa. Rejoice not so much that demons have fallen but "that your names are inscribed in heaven."
I find it significant Luke has Jesus use the present tense of the verb in the response of Jesus. It reads "are inscribed" rather than " will be inscribed". We generally think of heaven as coming in the future rather than as present in some way now as well as in the future. We go to Heaven, presumably in the future.
If what we do is an expression of who we are, and this seems to be what Jesus was telling the returning missionaries, then we do rejoice in what we do,yes, but even more so in who we are. Both elements of our identity are the will of God and cause for rejoicing, but one is temporary the other for now and forever
It is easy to understand the joy the disciples experienced in casting out the demons and the joy as well of those from whom the demons were cast out. I asked myself must this joy, so easily understood and appreciated, be the experience of disciples of Jesus back in the time of Jesus two thousand years ago , or should it be ours as well today. The answer came : Yes. it can, it should be ours. Then I set out to discover how, when, and why.
I began to realize more clearly the meaning and impact of the fact I believe in one God, the Creator of all, as we profess each Sunday at Mass. The God who forgave His Chosen People away back in the pages of the Old Testament is the same God who forgives our sins. The same Lord Jesus who sent His disciples out to prepare for His coming to various cities in Palestine is the same Lord Jesus who leads us today to wherever He wishes us to be, in our work places, in our kitchens, in our churches, among the poor, among the rich, living the message of salvation for the sake of those around us as well as for ourselves.
There is but one God. Everything and everyone is connected in God's love. "Love your neighbor as yourself". If we understand that and put it into practice in all that we think and speak and do, our names will be inscribed in heaven, now by faith, and when our life here on earth is complete by experience.