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Luke 10: 17-24 | Week 26 Ordinary Time, Saturday (King James Audio Bible KJV, Spoken Word)

17 ¶ And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
21 ¶ In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.
22 All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.
23 ¶ And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see:
24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

The seventy have been sent ahead of Jesus to prepare the way for Jesus; they have been sent to the towns and places – the ‘cities’ of the Gospels are for the most part small towns and villages – to which Jesus intended to travel. These disciples have been sent in a spirit of poverty, told by Jesus to trust in God, and so as a corollary in human hospitality. The disciples have borne the message that the kingdom of God is imminent. In humility as in poverty, they have been sent by Jesus as evangelists. In Bible verses, we witness the first missionaries, swelled with good news, return to Lord Jesus to share the joy of the initial, explosive success of their work of evangelizing.

There is much quite complex theology enshrined in these Bible verses. We see Satan fall from heaven, a rare glimpse indeed of the initial non serviam from which the Fall of our humanity followed.

In absolute contradistinction to the Fall, there stands Christ’s declaration of his followers’ redemption: your names are written in heaven. We pray that our names may be written in heaven, and with confidence we dedicate our lives to this most perfect hope.

Our lives, in this life, are illuminated by the eternal life we hope to enjoy with God in heaven. It may not be unreasonable to see Christ’s life in terms of such complementarity, of the heavenly and earthly realities. As Jesus declares his relationship with his Father, we think of the mysteries of our faith. We might think of the Chalcedonian definition, of AD 451, of the nature of Jesus, fully God and fully human. Two natures, one person – God and man indivisibly as one: the hypostatic union.

We might think of definitions, and explorations, of the togetherness of Father and Son with the Holy Spirit, the Trinity of which these Bible verses afford us a rare glimpse. Jesus declares himself the Son of the Father, and an amazing degree of exclusive knowledge of reciprocity is furthermore declared, including that no-one can know the Father except through Jesus. We might consider the ways in which Jesus hereby teaches us to know God. God becomes real and personal, flesh and blood. God is baptized, God argues with his mum and gets cross in the Temple, and God goes to death, ignominious death, on a Roman Cross. Jesus’ life is a perfect reflection of God the Father. The Son is consubstantial with the Father – he is homooúsios, as defined by the Council of Nicaea (AD 325). The life of Jesus is our lens through which we glimpse supernatural eternity.

Our eyes are blessed because we see. We can be as babes before Jesus. Our trust in the Lord can be complete. As we surrender our false claims to learning and wisdom, so we discover the absolute joy of life in Jesus, and the totality of supernatural wisdom, a kind of foolishness, which we draw on there.

A reading from the book of Saint Gregory of Nyssa, On The Christian Life:

‘If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away.’ A new creation – that is what the apostle called the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in a heart which is pure and without fault, a heart free from evil, malice and shame. Whenever the soul hates sin, and makes itself ready with all its power for the way of virtue, and in conversion of life receives the grace of the Spirit into it, it has become wholly new, it has been created afresh. The apostle said also: ‘Purge out the old leaven, and then you will be bread of a new baking,’ and added: ‘In observing the festival we must not use the old leaven, and then you will be bread of a new baking,’ and added: ‘In observing the festival we must not use the old leaven but only the unleavened bread which is sincerity and truth.’ These words are in harmony with what has been said about the new creation.

The tempter lays many snares for the soul, and of itself human nature is too weak to be victorious against him. That is why the apostle calls on us to arm the different parts of our body with the arms of heaven: ‘Put on righteousness for your breastplate, and eagerness for peace as shoes for your feet, have truth for a belt round your waist.’ See how many ways of salvation the apostle has indicated to you, all directed to the one road and the one goal. On these, the race of life to the end of the commandments is easily completed.

He who has complete disregard for the pomp of this life and renounces all worldly glory, must, along with his life, renounce his own soul too. Renunciation of sould means not to seek in any way one’s own will, but the will of God, and to let God’s will be our pilot; it means to possess nothing which is not common to all. In this way one will be the more ready to carry out the command of those in authority with delight, hope and eagerness, as a slave of Christ, as one purchased for the common service of the brethren. This is what the Lord too desires, when He says: ‘Anyone who wants to be first and great among you is to be last of all and slave of all.’

Such slavery in the service of men must be without recompense, such a slave must be subject to all; he must be at the service of his brethren as debtor his creditors. People in positions of authority must work more strenuously than others, but be more humble than those who are subjects; like slaves they should place their own life at the disposal of others, regarding those who have been entrusted to them as charge given to them by God.

And so, those in authority must take care of the brethren, as good teachers take care of tender young children who have been entrusted to them by their fathers. If you act in this way towards one another, both subjects and masters, subjects obeying their superiors with joy, masters leading the brethren to perfection; and if you outdo one another in showing honour – then you will live the life of the angels here on earth.

Concluding Prayer | Love Revealed By Jesus Christ

Let us praise you, Lord,
with voice and mind and deed:
and since life itself is your gift,
may all we have and are be yours.
We make our prayer through our Lord.