Scripture can be tricky sometimes. In fact, we’ve probably spent the last 2000 years (or more) trying to understand it, and at different times and places, for different people, it has spoken different messages of truth. Whilst some elements might remain the same, some things might speak more deeply to us at certain points in time. But, as we hear in today’s Gospel, “the harvest is plentiful”, or perhaps more crudely, as I once heard a Marist Brother explain about what we can learn from Scripture, “the cows got a lot of milk, let’s milk it!”
This week’s scripture is a deeply personal call to mission. There are two significant groups of people mentioned in the Gospel, Disciples and Apostles. If I could offer these simple definitions of these two groups: a Disciple: to be a learner, and, an Apostle: to be sent. This story is one of transition from Disciple to Apostle – from learner and listener to being sent. This is a cyclical process, we are called to be learners and we are sent, and then we come back and learn some more!
In our lives we often seek to discover who we are by focusing on ourselves. But we discover our faith identity (and, ultimately, our true identity) by focusing on serving others. Learning, and then being sent out, to be in relationship with not only self, but God and others. In the scripture we literally hear the names of twelve apostles, but at a more mystical level we should hear our names – Josh, Brooke, David, Catherine, Henry, Ben, Maria, Jessica, Isla, Louise, Margaret, Rueben… Each person, each of us, called by name.
Scripture is there to inform life. What is your heart response to the words you have heard? When have you been weary, or felt something lacking in your life? What called you back, gave you renewed energy, passion, or connection? Was there something you needed to let go of, to allow your heart to be filled with more joy, love, or compassion?
Sometimes making sense of things is tricky, we are weary and lost, uncertain of the call, or struggle to learn and understand. But that is all part of the journey of growing into the deepest understanding of our truest and most faithful selves. Daniel O’Leary, an Irish Priest and Author, offers the below words of encouragement (and blessing!):
Yet again you are trudging into the dark weather
Of your mind. Your eyes are dull.
Your heart heavy with too many things.
A stranger is keeping in step with you.
His face is beautiful with love. You look away.
You look back again. He’s gone. And then you know.
It was a glimpse of your truest, faithful self.
The journey to being fully human and fully alive, is one of presence and awareness. Recognising God’s blessing and abundance, allows us the opportunity to be called into a deeper relationship. The eyes and ears of the heart are opened in recognition. Never stop listening for the call, never stop learning, never stop growing, and never stop sharing love, joy, hope, and peace.