Today we join our Jewish brethren in celebrating Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year! Also known as the Yom Teruah or the Feast of Trumpets, it is believed to be the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, and their first actions toward the realization of humanity’s role in God‘s world. What a wonderful way to celebrate our beginnings!
Today’s gospel text forms the meat of the sandwich formed by the sending out of the Twelve (9:1-6) and their return (9:10-17). In this instance, the twelve are sent on mission, the return is interrupted by the question of Herod and the event of the sending out of his disciples is continued and completed by their joyful return. Jesus shares his mission with the twelve and there is success! Their success is the result of their personal experience with Jesus – nothing more, nothing less. As news of their success reach Herod’s ears, he is perplexed! He wants to meet their leader – Jesus. Who is this guy? He is curious…he wants to know…he wants to meet Jesus. And eventually when he meets Jesus, he would scoff and have a cynical laugh.
"The story of Jesus Christ is the most powerful in history and has directly or indirectly influenced every noble aspect of modern civilization." says Matthew Kelly, in his popular book, ‘Rediscover Catholicism’. "But amid the hustle and bustle of our daily lives", he continues "it is easy to become distracted and distance ourselves from this story." He speaks of people who come by and continue to remind us of this story of Jesus. "Some of these men and women are the saints who have become household names; others are just ordinary people: parents and grandparents, nurses and schoolteachers, financial advisers and entrepreneurs."
A lot of people out there are curious, perplexed, confused and in despair. They want to know and experience Jesus. May our lives proclaim the story of Jesus! May it bring fresh beginnings in the lives of people!
Fr. Bruno D’Souza, CP, is on the staff at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.