Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Year C

Stephen M. Curry, O.S.A.
Merrimack College
North Andover, Massachusetts

Is 66: 10-14c
Ps 66: 1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20
Gal 6: 14-18
Lk 10: 1-12, 17-20

There once was a monastery filled with older monks. For more than thirty years there wasn’t a single vocation that joined their religious order. One day all the monks gathered together for a meeting to determine their future. Some monks said that they should just die out one-by-one until there would be no one left. Other monks said that they should continue to pray for people to join their way of life. Finally they all decided to bring in a consultant to give them advice on what they should do.

The consultant came to the monastery to investigate the monks. One-by-one he interviewed all of them. At the end of the interviews, the consultant called all the monks together to share his results. He said to them: “After meeting with all of you individually, I came to realize that one of you is The Messiah.” After making this statement, the consultant packed up his bags and left the monastery.

This statement was confusing for the monks. At first they felt like they had been scammed by him because he didn’t have any advice to share with them, other than to say that “one of you is The Messiah.” Then the monks started asking each other who among them could be the messiah? As they thought about each monk’s name as a possibility, they said that it couldn’t be any one of them because no one was perfect. Despite this opposition, they knew that one of them had to be the messiah.

With no one knowing which monk was the messiah, all the monks changed the way that they interacted with one another. They started to treat each other as if he were the messiah. As a result, each person was highly respected as if they were directly encountering Jesus Christ. As time went on, the monks continued to question who the messiah might be. Knowing that each person had their own flaws and couldn’t be the messiah, they started to ask themselves: “Could I be the messiah?” In asking themselves this question, each monk started treating himself in the most holy and Christ-like way.

With the monks treating each other and themselves with the upmost respect and love, people started to notice their holiness. They found that in each monk they encountered the love of Christ. Every monk was special and reflected the beauty of God. As a result, many people started to join their religious order because they were inspired by their Christian example.

This story’s message about imitating Christ and inspiring others to live a holy life is at the heart of today’s readings. The readings call us to rejoice in the holiness of Jerusalem and be inspired by her (Isaiah 66). In rejoicing, we are called to cry out to God with joy (Psalm 66). We should boast about the love and sacrifice of Jesus (Galatians 6). We should go out into the world and bring the love and peace of the Lord, and share the Kingdom of God with others (Luke 10).

So how do we apply this message in our own lives? As we look around us, we see that there are many problems that can weigh us down. There are evil people in the world who kill innocent bystanders, such as the lives lost at the airport in Istanbul and The Pulse in Orlando. Presidential candidates thrive upon publicizing the negative aspects of their opponents. Drug abuse is destroying its users and their families. All that we have to do to see the dark side of life is to listen to the daily news.

In the midst of this negative side of life, we need to realize that The Messiah is among us. The grace of God is all around us. The light of Christ will always overpower any harm that comes our way.

In this spirit, let us rid ourselves of any deeds of darkness and put on the light of Christ. As we interact with our coworkers, family, friends, and neighbors, let us go the extra mile and see the risen Christ that dwells in them. Let our own personal example be such that we also allow others to see the goodness of God in ourselves. Let us inspire them through works of holiness. When we embody and share the powerful light of God in our lives, people will be attracted to our Christian way of life. They too will want to experience and embody the grace of God.

Being Christ-like in the way that we treat others and ourselves is what inspired others to join the monks’ way of life. It is what today’s readings are all about. It is what each of us all called to live in our daily Christian lives. Let us put off the deeds of darkness and put on the light of Christ for all to see.