Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Christ sent his disciples out to help him reap the harvest. In the past we left this to the specialists, priests, nuns and religious, but we are acutely aware now that this mission is for all of us. The people Christ sent out weren’t specialists. Yet they became his instruments. The Lord asks us to share with others what we have received from him. There are things, which will remain undone if we don’t do them. To be an apostle is to be one who is sent. One doesn’t have to be some kind of genius or have special qualifications to be able to do the work of Jesus. When Jesus sent out the seventy-two disciples he said that their first words on entering a house were to be: ‘Peace to this house’. They were to be ambassadors of peace and goodwill. Peace is not just the absence of war. Peace implies openness, friendship, tolerance, goodwill, hospitality, and reconciliation. It disposes us to reach out to others; it helps to break down barriers of suspicion, fear, prejudice, and bigotry. Working for peace means welcoming people close to us, those who annoy us or disagree with us, those who provoke anguish within us. To take the path of peace is to accept people as they are, with all their limitations and weaknesses. We are giving back something that we have received.Karma is a word that is used in a lot of religions especially Buddhism and Hinduism. According to the theory of Karma, what happens to us, happens because we caused it with our actions.

A man was driving home one evening, in an old banger of a car. The factory in his hometown had closed down and he had just lost his job. It was a lonely road and not many people had a reason to be on it. It was starting to get dark and light snow flurries were coming down. He almost didn’t see the old lady, stranded on the side of the road. But even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that chill which only fear can put in you. He said, “I’m here to help you ma’am. Why don’t you wait in the car where it’s warm?  By the way, my name is Bryan.” Her car had a flat tire. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt. She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid. Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk. She asked him how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. Bryan never thought twice about the money; this was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty who had given him a hand in the past. He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance that they needed, and Bryan added “…and think of me”. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home. A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. Her waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn’t erase. The lady noticed that the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan. After the lady finished her meal, and the waitress went to get change for her €50 note, the lady slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. She wondered where the lady could be, then she noticed something written on the napkin under which were 4  €50 notes. There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote. It said: “You don’t owe me anything, I have been there too. Somebody once helped me out, the way I’m helping you. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard. She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered softly, “Everything’s gonna be all right; Bryan.”