Rejoice because our names are written in heaven. When we were baptized, we became a member of Christ’s body. From that moment on, our names have been written in heaven. What if I were to tell you that from now on in your life there would be no more troubles. No one else can do anything that can hurt you.
This is true when it comes to eternal life, but there are going to be troubles in this life on earth.
We hear in the second reading: “For I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.” When we bare the marks of Jesus on our body and understand that we have been baptized into the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and into Jesus’ passion, suffering, death and resurrection, we realize that as long as we walk with Jesus in this life, no one or nothing can harm us or trouble us.
We can walk with great peace no matter what happens because all of it happens under God’s providence.
We hear in the gospel today that the Lord appointed 72 disciples. He sent them out in pairs to every town and village. He sent them off, and said to them, “Behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.” The wolves are dangerous. The wolves can devour, eat and kill.
His message to us today is that we are his disciples, and he is sending us out into the world. We are like lambs. We are so innocent and so pure that the world is going to try to devour us. But, the world cannot devour us if we remain with Jesus.
No matter where we go, no matter who we face, no matter what circumstances we are in – know that we are going there as a member of Christ. Our name is written in heaven. In Baptism, we are baptized into the passion and resurrection of Jesus, and we are immersed in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Even though we go like lambs among the wolves, we stay with Jesus. If we remain with this faith, we will never be harmed. Sometimes, we are so afraid of rejection and being hurt that we do not even proclaim the Good News. We do not proclaim the truth. But Jesus says, “Do this.”
I remember it sometimes being difficult for me to share something. I thought that if the other person did not receive it there would be some kind of rejection, but Jesus tells us to share the Good News into whatever town we enter.
Wherever we go in our car, we should share the Good News. Some people are going to receive it, and some people are going to reject it. What do we do with the people that reject it? Jesus says to go out and tell that town that you shake the dust from your feet, and the peace will return to you.
The peace and joy that we have received from the Gospel, if it is shared, might actually be received by the people. That might bring them a peace they never even expected or knew. It is okay if they do not receive it because peace will return back to you.
Finally, when it goes back to the notion of this power that is given to us in baptism, Jesus promises us that we will not be just able to do the things that he did – but even greater things. When the disciples go out, they begin to practice what Jesus has given to them. They come back, rejoice, and say, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”
At that moment, Jesus says, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power to tread upon serpents and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you.” Do you hear that? He has given us the power to trample upon the full force of the enemy.
So, no matter how much Satan rages against us; no matter how much he tries to manipulate, or distort, or throw us off; no matter how much Satan tries to attack us, he has given us the power to tread upon the serpent – the full force of the enemy – and nothing will harm us. We do not have to be afraid.
He says, “Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you.” This is awesome. This is amazing that Satan is subject to us. With Jesus, you are more powerful. He says, “Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
No matter what happens to us, no matter what rejection we experience, no matter what people may say about us, no matter what disappointments life may throw at us, no matter what curve balls we may get, no matter what happens to us – we can rejoice because our names are written in heaven.
Whether it is losing a job or opportunity or being in doubt or being misrepresented. Maybe people are saying something about you that is not true. None of this matters. We can rejoice that our names are written in heaven.
As we come to this Eucharist to receive the Lord and to unite ourselves to him, we know that we too will be sent out to whatever town or village that we go. Some people will experience us and welcome us, and there will be wonderful peace and joy.
Others will reject us, and still yet, we might experience being like a sheep among the wolves. We might be attacked from all angles in this life, but do not be afraid because we do have the power to trample on the enemy and nothing will harm us. Have great courage.
Go into the world proclaiming the Good News, and above all, rejoice because our names are written in heaven.