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14th Sunday in Ordinary Time — The Reign of God is at Hand and in Our Hearts

Wheat_Field“He said to them, ‘The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this household.” If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, “The kingdom of God is at hand for you”’ ” (Luke 10:2-9).
The first thing, and perhaps the best thing we can give people when we engage in ministry is our willingness to carefully listen to them. Ministry becomes mutual service when we engage people with loving attentiveness.
Our hands, as much as our ears, can also be instruments of loving service. A gentle touch can be a powerful purveyor of God’s love. This is illustrated by the story of a man who dressed as a clown and made monthly visits to a group of children living in a shelter. Each month he came with a bag of Hershey Kisses, but rather than grab the chocolates, the children reached for the large red heart on the costume. They knew that when they pressed the heart, they would get a hug in return. The reign of God is at hand. It’s as close as our own loving hands.
But approaching our daily encounters in these open ways can also make us vulnerable. We may be misunderstood, ignored, or put down. But Jesus asks us to be willing to be like a lamb as he was. If we imitate the vulnerable love of Jesus, we become instruments of his transformation of the world. Through us as through Jesus, the reign of God is at hand.
There is a story about a World War II soldier who found a statue of Jesus that was missing its hands. At the base of the statue was written, “I have no hands but yours.” The reign of God is truly in our hands.
– What aspects or situations of your life could be seen as areas of ministry where Jesus wants you to go as the emissary of his love and peace?
Adapted from PrayerTime: Faith-Sharing Reflections on the Sunday Gospels, available at the RENEW International store.

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