I love action thriller movies! I admit it. I will find one while flipping through the channels and regardless of how many times I've seen a movie I will watch it again. Of course there are lots of actors that play the role of hero in these movies but one of my favorites is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. It caught my attention this morning when I saw that he had just been honored with a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star. I guess in the world's eyes that means Johnson has arrived.
In this week's Gospel we hear about the experience of the seventy-two and how they are treated upon their "arrival" in various homes and towns.
At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this household.' If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God is at hand for you.' Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, 'The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.' Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand. I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town."
The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name." Jesus said, "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. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven." Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
A lot happens in this story as Jesus sends out a large group of disciples with the assignment to announce that 'The kingdom of God is at hand.' Jesus gives detailed instructions as to exactly how the disciples are to handle each situation based on the receptiveness of those they encounter. Surprisingly, Jesus instructs the disciples to turn away from those who do not welcome them. Jesus knows that not everyone will embrace Him as He ushers in the coming of the Kingdom of God.
As the joyful disciples return to Jesus the thing they report is that, "even the demons are subject..." Jesus responds with a very interesting statement that directs their attention to what truly matters. While there is a need to deal with the "demons" we encounter in life our true joy must come from the fact that we will forever be with Jesus in heaven.
I'm guessing that if my name is written in heaven I'm not going to need to put my handprints in any concrete. But I am sure that when I arrive the joy on my face, like Dwayne Johnson's, will be never-ending!