BY FR DAVID MARION 14th Sunday of the Year Isaiah 66: 10-14, Galatians 6:14-18 Luke 10: 1-12. 17-20
IF YOU CAME across a prayer that started "Rejoice Birmingham" or "Rejoice Belfast" you would be rather surprised. It is however no surprise that Isaiah starts his message today with the words "Rejoice Jerusalem".
Jerusalem was not just an ordinary city. It was the place where God and his people came together. The Canaanites called it the city of Salem when it belonged to them. The Egyptians used the same "Urushalim, the city of the God Salem". About 1000 years before the coming of Christ, David Captured it to make it the centre of the two halves of his Kingdom. His son Solomon built the Temple to house the Ark of the Covenant which made Jerusalem above all the holy city.
Today it is still the focal point of the three great religions followed by the children of Abraham.
All four Gospels are in different ways accounts of Our Lord's journey towards Jerusalem and the suffering and glory which were waiting there. The Easter events, the winds of Pentecost and the first Council of the Church all took place in Jerusalem.
Yet with Christianity came a new view. Our Lord foretold the destruction of Jerusalem which took place under the Romans in the year 70 AD. St John tells his hearers that worship in Jerusalem is not what matters. What matters is adoration "in spirit and in truth".
St Paul contrasts the old Jerusalem and the Law of the past with the heavenly Jerusalem of the future: the living Church of Christs. For all of us life is a journey with God, not Jerusalem, or destination.
Today's Gospel is itself about a journey. It is the one which the disciples were told to make. It is a strange little story. The sense of urgency is easy to understand. The "take it or leave it" attitude is not. It contrasts so clearly with Jesus' own gentle way of leading by questioning.
There is of course something special about our own journey. Like the disciples we have a message to give. In the world of top salaries and the golden finger of the lottery, it is that money does not matter. In a world of flags and national sovereignties, it is that we are all one people. In a.world of little vision or direction, it is that we are all on the way to the heavenly Jerusalem.
Can it possibly be in any way our fault that people do not seem to be listening? t