Updated: Jun 30
Isaiah Wolf and Lamb “This is my second piece within a series of paintings I am working on of Isaiah 11:6. Nature can be harsh in its struggle to survive, so this Scripture brings me comfort as I envision a day where all God's creatures will live in harmony”. by Charice Cooper Charice Cooper describes herself thus: “I do not remember a time I was not creating art. When I was a little girl, I was always the first in my family to awaken and it was in those early morning hours I would immerse myself in my art. As you can see from my work, I also love animals. Art and animals have always been my tightly intertwined passions. Despite my artistic nature, I found myself in the corporate world for many years. With mounting stress, I began to focus more on my art for relief and in 2000, I traded the corporate ladder for a painter's ladder and started a full-time mural business painting both residential and commercial murals. About 15 years into my business, I transitioned to the easel doing gallery work, portraits and other commissions. A self-taught artist, I've always felt the journey is the reward. What started in the wee hours of the morning as a child has proven to be an ongoing source of fulfilment offering introspection as well as expression. While it has not always been easy, it is always been deeply gratifying, and I hope that I can be an inspiration to others to seek out their purpose through their passion”.
Lectio Luke 10: 1- 12, 17-20
1“The Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. 5Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!' 6And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. 7Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. 8Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you. 9cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’. 10But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near’. 12I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town’. 17The seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!’ 18He said to them, ‘I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 19See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. 20Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven’”.
Context Luke is the only Evangelist to present Jerusalem as the goal for Jesus, and this second sending forth of Disciples. Matthew, Mark and Luke all recount the sending of the Twelve Apostles with similar instructions for the journey as in this Gospel. Last week we read about Jesus response to three individuals who asked to follow him but only after they had seen to personal needs first, for example: ‘bury their dead’, ‘say good bye to their father’. Jesus explained to them the true cost of being a follower, and the devotion it required above personal needs. Now, we read of Jesus appointing Seventy-Two, to be sent out in twos to cover more towns and areas Jesus wanted to reach. Jesus specified they travel in twos presumably so they could bear witness to each other. The number seventy was symbolic to Jews, for example it was the number of Elders chosen to help Moses with leading and directing the people in the wilderness. This is an important comparison as this time the chosen Seventy are also to support Jesus with leading, directing people over a wider area than Jesus could cover alone. Jesus recognises that the task is enormous (“the harvest”), but the labourers are few. Seventy at this time was also held to be the number of nations in the world. The inference is that this will mean every nation in the world would know and love his Lord. The first reading chosen for Sunday liturgy, from Isaiah who is known as the Messianic Prophet, speaks of peace flowing to Jerusalem as like a river. Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem to bring peace through his Death and Resurrection. Luke sees the Passion of Jesus in a positive way focussing on the triumph of the Resurrection and Ascension, referring to Jesus “to be taken up to heaven”. Jesus warns his Disciples that their task is likely to be difficult. He refers to them being “lambs among wolves”. I will comment more on this later. Jesus guides the Disciples Jesus gives very clear guidance on how the disciples are to behave and what to bring for the journey. The advice is similar to that which he gave to the Twelve Apostles. The clear instructions as to how to go about their journey and work are: 1. Travel light, no purse, wallet or shoes, brings to mind the quote from the
hymn: “Go tell everyone”, “You don’t need two shirts on you back”. “Do not be weighed
down with material possessions”. 2. Greet no one, do not be distracted from your goals. 3. Invoke peace on any house you enter, it will only settle in the homes of those
of good will. 4. Do not personally gain from this work, for example finding the best houses to
stay in. 5. Take the food and lodging you are given and eat what you are offered, that is
due to you for the work you do. 6. Live up to the responsibility of the privilege of hearing the Word God has
bestowed on you. 7. If you are rejected brush the dust off your feet as a sign and repeat that the
Kingdom of God is close. A list of advice which could be so relevant in principle today. The Disciples return with joy The Disciples return in joy and full of confidence. They report to Jesus, “Lord even the devils are made subject to us through your name” Jesus confirms this was his impression too in that He saw “Satan was cast down like a lightening-flash from heaven”. He restates the powers He has bestowed on them, for example to “trample on snakes and scorpions”, but He warns them not to rejoice in the devils being made subject to them rather “rejoice that your names are enrolled in heaven”. What did Jesus mean by saying He saw Satan cast down? It could be He saw the forces of darkness and evil defeated, or it might have been a warning against pride. For pride was the supposed reason the devil was cast from heaven. He insisted their greatest glory was that their names would be written in heaven not the triumph of their powers. The greatest glory of man is not what he has achieved, but what God has achieved for him. Sir James Simpson, who pioneered the use of chloroform when asked what he considered was his greatest discovery said to everyone’s surprise: “My greatest discovery was that Jesus Christ is my Saviour”. Does not pride then bar us from heaven and humility is the passport to the presence of God? The message The message to me from this Gospel, arises from the words of Jesus, “Remember I am sending you out to be like lambs among wolves”. This analogy reminded me of the Old Testament Prophecy of Isaiah. The reference “little child” is sometimes thought to be a Prophecy of the birth of Jesus. What is clear is that the image of predator and victims as portrayed by wolf and lamb respectively is how Jesus warns his Disciples of the dangers of their mission. By his Cross and Resurrection, He will bring a message of the path to peace, and in doing this He is fulfilling the Isaiah Prophecy as demonstrated by a wolf and a lamb lying side by side. This is why the painting “Isaiah the Wolf and Lamb” was selected to go with this Lectio. Jesus is the Lamb and the Sheep his followers and they are born into a world which does not understand the Kingdom of God and the Peace it can bring. The world before Christ was full of wars which can be represented by fierce ravaging animals such as wolves and when Jesus sends forth his Disciples, He knows He is sending them like lambs among wolves. They bring a message of the Kingdom of God and peace which comes from knowing and imitating Jesus. It is pitiful that 2000 years after Jesus died on the Cross to show love and the path to peace the world still endures civil unrest and wars. The most prominent for us to witness at the moment is the war brought on Ukraine by Russia. There is also the other species of wolves, those who do not war monger but who prey on the vulnerable and innocent in the sex trade, human trafficking, asylum seekers the poor the oppressed and the list is endless. So, there is still a need to send out Sheep and Lambs into a world of greedy unscrupulous wolves to bring the message of the Kingdom of God and peace. This is the call to us to become true disciples, leave behind our trappings of distraction, “stuff”, habits, indulgences, excess become lighter in what we have to carry, so that we can be agile and responsive to where there is a need for us to bring the love of God and comfort on Earth now. To set the moral standards for the next generation, to show the path to the Kingdom of God. To not be frightened of meeting the wolves but pacify, teach and tame. This is our vocation, our call.
Oratio HYMN: Go Tell Everyone
God’s Spirit Is In My Heart He Has Called Me And Set Me Apart. This Is What I Have To Do. He Sent Me To Give The Good News To The Poor. Tell Prisoners That They Are Prisoners No More. Tell Blind People That They Can See. And Set The Down Trodden Free. And Go Tell Everyone The News That The Kingdom Of God Has Come And Go Tell Everyone. The News That God’s Kingdom Has Come. Just As The Father Sent Me So I’m Sending You Out To Be, My Witnesses Throughout The World, The Whole Of The World. Don’t Carry A Load In Your Pack, You Don’t Need Two Shirts On Your Back A Workman Can Earn His Own Keep, Can Earn His Own Keep. Don’t Worry What You Have To Say, Don’t Worry Because On That Day God’s Spirit Will Speak In Your Heart Will Speak In Your Heart.
Have I considered reducing the baggage, the clutter in my life, the things that weigh me down which could be people who drain my energy, habits, technology, social media, the media as much as too many possessions?
If Jesus asked you to Evangelise now, how would I answer him. Would I have a list of priorities to attend to first? Would I ask him lots of questions, or would I walk out the door and start with the first person I meet?
As an Evangelist, which is more important to me: what I say, or what I do, or how I behave? Or does each carry the same level of importance?
What are my thoughts on pride? We have Gay Pride, then grand/parents are excused when they beam with pride for their children or grandchildren, especially when they perform well. Is this different to personal pride? What of the saying “Pride goeth before a fall” Have I ever experienced such pride?
How could I be Christ’s body, hands, feet on earth? Does the thought of failing stop me from trying? Does it seem too big a commission? Is there some small way each day I could answer his call? A smile, a helping hand, a question of concern or offer of support to someone in need?
 Matthew 10:5-15; Mark 6: 7-11; Luke 9: 1-5  Luke 9:51-62  Matthew 18:16: “If he will not listen to thee, take with thee one or two more, that the whole matter might be certified by the voice of two or three witnesses”.  Numbers 11:16: “The LORD said to Moses: ‘Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you’.  Luke 9:51: “And now the time was drawing near for his taking away from the earth and he turned his eyes steadfastly towards the way that led to Jerusalem”.  Luke 10:17  Luke 10:18  Luke 10:19  Luke 10:20  Luke 10:3  Isaiah 11:6: “The wolf shall also dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them”.