Experiencing Jesus Christ & Receptivity to His Friendship

by Angela M. Jendro

Jesus sends the 12

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel Lk 10:1-12, 17-20

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.”

Meditation Reflection:

Jesus desires personal relationship with each human person. At the same time, no man is an island, and therefore Jesus encounters persons within the context of their lives. Our experiences and choices, together with our relationships with others, form the framework through which we receive and respond to Christ.

Our personal encounter with Christ may begin with a personally appointed disciple of His, sent ahead of Him. For some, a certain preparation may be needed before Christ’s visit will be fruitful. Someone whose heart is hardened toward God by experiences of pain or falsehood may need their demons cast out so Christ can fully enter. In some cases, this happens in a literal way through the name of Jesus and the authority granted by Him. In other cases, it happens in a more indirect and organic way, through the softening of a heart by the experience of Christian love, the opening of a mind through seeds of truth, or the reception of mercy in a time of need. An otherwise weak soul, may find the courage to say yes to Christ after being inspired by the bravery of another. A proud soul may see the beauty of meekness through the gentle joy of colleague. Our perception of God can be obscured by our experiences in life – either of prosperity or pain – but it can also be clarified by our experiences in life, especially through encounters with other Christians.

Christ call us to proclaim the kingdom of God to others and He equips us with the supernatural power and grace to do so. The good news of the Lord’s presence and mercy is proclaimed through a myriad of ways and tailored to the individuals who will receive it. God may call you to witness through your example, through your choices, through works of mercy, through your patience and kindness, through your prayers and sacrifices, or through words of teaching, encouragement, conviction, or comfort.

Conversions continue to take place even in surprising places. Peter Leithart, writer for First Things magazine, offers one such example in his article “Islamicization of Europe or Christianization of Islam?” He reports that many Muslim refugees migrating into Europe from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and central Asia have been converting to Christianity and requesting baptism by the droves. The article cites a variety of reasons for this phenomena, but at the core of it, the conversions are credited to individuals in need having encountered the Gospel through the Christians who aided them. This Christian love sparked openness to Christianity and set on fire a desire for Christ.

The kingdom of God, which is none other than union with God, begins here on earth at the crucial crossroads of the human will. The seventy-two sent out by Christ recounted their exhilaration at being able to cast out demons. The devil seems oppressively powerful, yet at the simple name of Jesus, he is conquered. Unfortunately, a simple “no” by the human will can shut Jesus out. Relationship requires the reciprocal good will of two people. Christ loves us, but if we do not love Him in return there can be no friendship. As Christian disciples, we must pray to be His missionaries laboring in His harvest and take care to not turn others away by their encounter with us. We should also not become discouraged if even after great feats people in our lives still reject God.  Ultimately, that is between them and God. The stakes are high – heaven! – so let’s pray that we can open hearts to receive the Lord for all of eternity.


  • Consider how Christ has sent messengers ahead of Him to you.
    • Who brought to you His truth, sacraments, love, or compassion?
    • How did it increase your faith or clarify your understanding of Christ?
  • Consider how you are a messenger of Christ – to your family, your colleagues, your neighbors, and your friends.
    • In what ways to you demonstrate Christ’s love and truth to them?
    • In what ways could you improve your Christian witness?
  • Reflect on your receptivity. How open are you to the Word of God in Scripture, through His Church, through others? What hinders you and what helps you?
  • Reflect on Christian evangelization occurring in Europe by reading Peter Leithart’s article

Make a Resolution (Practical Application):

  • Each day prayerfully and intentionally decide on one person with whom you will share Christ. Prayerfully decide how and when you will do it. (e.g. Saying a kind word to someone who annoys you at work, praying with your children together before bed, doing something loving toward your spouse, forgiving someone in need of mercy, etc.)
  • Reach out to someone who has been instrumental in your own conversion and thank him or her. It could be as simple as an email, text, hand-written note, or phone call.


~ Written by Angela (Lambert) Jendro © 2016; edited edition © 2019

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Tough, Gentle Mercy

by Angela Lambert



October 29th, 2016; 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel Luke 19:1-10

At that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

Meditation Reflection:

As Jesus’ disciples, we too share in His mission to seek and save the lost.  During the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has exhorted us to be more proactive in this mission – to intentionally practice mercy daily through concrete actions and to make efforts to see those in need of help around us.  People who are lost, by definition, don’t know their way back home.  Thus, we need to seek them out, to find them where they are drifting, and to gently walk the journey back with them.

How do we do this?  It depends on the relationship and the situation.  The one consistent in every attempt however, is prayer.  Since we follow Christ, we must begin by listening to Him and letting Him lead.

Each person and each situation require prudence and a tailored response.  I can propose some general ideas and lessons I’ve learned, but every lost or drifting soul must be cared for on a prayerful and individual basis.

Seeking the lost begins at home with the people God has entrusted to us.  It’s much easier to dote on our children than to discipline them and to complain or criticize our parents or spouse than to gently correct them.  Yet, those closest to us can drift away and get lost if sins get left unchecked.  Although people make their own choices, we must do what we can to seek them out when they begin to pull away from God or goodness.

For parents, this means doing the work of discipline.  For young children, it teaches them self-control, right from wrong, and starts them off on the right track with good habits.  For teens, it can be trickier.  Their struggles are heavier, more embarrassing at times, and better hidden.  Discipline has to not only reform their habits but also their minds and hearts.  How to reach a child’s heart is a daunting task to attempt and one prone to failure, nevertheless we have a Christian and parental duty to try the best we can out of love.  We must endeavor to be bold, suck it up, and lovingly try to help them get back on track just as our heavenly Father does for us.

“But you spare all things, because they are yours, O LORD and lover of souls, for your imperishable spirit is in all things! Therefore you rebuke offenders little by little, warn them and remind them of the sins they are committing, that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in you, O LORD!”  Wisdom 11:26-12:2

When another adult in one’s family begins to stray, it requires just as much care and prudence.  It also requires greater understanding, compassion, and forgiveness on our part since we will likely be affected ourselves by their choices or we may struggle with feelings of disappointment or betrayal.  If we can be patient and prayerful however, knowing them so well can work in our favor to gently move them in a way that resonates with them personally.

Friends and acquaintances may be less open about their struggles but we can do small things to let them know we see they’re hurting and we are here to help.  Pray about whether to have a direct conversation or to indirectly point them through example, invitations, or suggestions.  Ask Mary to help you see their need and do what you can to meet it.  It may be material needs that can be met with physical gifts, emotional needs that can be met with a listening ear or a word of encouragement, loneliness which can be soothed through invitation to coffee or dinner, or spiritual need which might be aided by being brave enough to share your own faith openly with them or to pray with them.



  • When have you received merciful love? How did it change you?
  • How have the challenges you have faced enabled you to recognize the same struggle in others and better equipped to help?
  • Who do you find the most difficult to love and who do you find it easiest to care for?

Make a Resolution (Practical Application):

  • Pray for Christ to show you an opportunity to offer mercy to someone each day this week.Works of Mercy
  • Consider joining with others to help: volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center, lead a bible study, volunteer at a food shelf, organize meals for a neighbor or colleague who is sick…


~ Written by Angela Lambert © 2016

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