John Connelly


Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 3, 2016
Isaiah 66.10-14 | Psalm 66 | Galatians 6.14-18 | Luke 10.1-12, 17-20
June 27, 2016

In this week's Gospel, Jesus speaks these words to his disciples, "I am sending you out like lambs among wolves."

This is an interesting image. Lambs are not normally sent among wolves. Wolves prey on lambs. They kill them and eat them.

What is Jesus getting at? We live in a world filled with predators, a world where the innocent are preyed upon. A world where violence, abuse and war are considered normal.

We disciples carry into this world a message that contradicts much of what the world stands for. The world says abortion is a normal and natural right, that we should have power to terminate life.

I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. - Luke 10.3

'I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves.'

Luke 10.3

But we believe all life is valuable, from conception to natural death, and no one but God should decide these matters.

We are meant to be, as Pope John Paul II reminded us, "a sign of contradiction." So ask yourself, Is my life a sign of contradiction? Am I living as a lamb in the midst of wolves?

When we live in intimacy with Jesus, we contradict the lies of this world. We are light shining in the darkness, we expose the dark forces in this broken world.

Yet, sometimes the wolves get unhappy with the upstart sheep who contradict them. This leads to the cross. It often leads to a confrontation with anti-Gospel forces which hate the truth.

This is why the communists slaughtered Christians. This is why the Christians in the Middle East are being viciously persecuted by terrorists.

This is why St. Paul says, "May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Galatians 6.14).

When sheep go forward into the land of wolves, we can only boast of the cross. We proclaim that the real answer is Jesus crucified. He is our power; he is mercy; he is the king who will reign over all.

This is not always popular in a world that has radically turned from God. This world proclaims lies as virtue, darkness as light and foolishness as wisdom.

Many no longer believe in sin, though the evidence of it is everywhere. The madness of turning from God is wreaking destruction on an epic scale.

So we march forward. We sheep are sent out into the land of wolves. And we boast not in ourselves but in the cross of Jesus Christ.

We tell the wolves and all people that there is still time to become sheep. There is still time to regain innocence and purity. There is still time to love God and all humanity. There is still time to turn to the cross and lay bare the disease of sin which exists in us all.

The Good Shepherd is among us. Yes, there is darkness. But he is with us, in us, walking the path in you and me - lambs in the midst of wolves.