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The Tradition, the living memory of the Church, gives us comfort that throughout the ages those who have risked all have also bore much fruit in their lives.  However, as much as a comfort as that is, each of us still has to stand at that precipice and make that choice - all or nothing.  God does not seek a slot in our leasuire activities.  He is not interested in a bit of us. We can choose to play it safe but nothing much will come it. God wants all of us. He is the consumer not us.

70ApostlesAs it was the feast of Saint Luke today in our church the Gospel was the sending out of the 70 disciples (Luke 10).  This remains a challenging text. Yet it has inspired many of the great founders of religious orders. Francis, Ignatius and Benedict come to mind.  It is all too easy to imagine that people do not come to Church because the Gospel has not been marketed to them. Some also imagine that if we decafinate the message we will also find them returning. The reality is that people, especially the British, are suspicious and do not like to think that they are being sold something. To me what Luke 10 prompts us to see that mission is about an authentic living out of Christianity not a hard sell.  It is about the simplicity of lifestyle exhbited and the sheer love we have for others.  There is nothing worse than meeting an evangelist who only sees people as pew fodder. St Francis loved people.  He also, like his Lord, was prepared to live a very simple life. He became the miracle he preached about. I would hold that many see the same thing in the present pope.  Here is a man who shuns the clerical power dressing, lives in a hostel, eats with staff and takes the bus. Now that is why 80,000 people flock to St Peter's for his audience. They see something of Christ.

The aspect of the sending out of the 70 is that Jesus expected them to offer a supernatural ministry. I find that too many in church leadership dismiss this side of our witness. We all appreciate that there are charletons and crooks.  I think we also have to work with modern medicine.  But, can we marginalise the healing ministry.  Perhaps for some church leaders this is simply too unfashionable? The Indian mystic  Father Anthony DeMello SJ in his awesome book 'Awakenings' comments that once people see the dead arise then they will flock back to church. Maybe we need to risk asking God and not worry about looking foolish.

The great things about Jesus' commision (like the Magnificat) is that it embraces the theologies that we all too often see as being in opposition.  Liberals want an ecological inclusive socially responsible Gospel while traditionalists remind us of a ministry which is supernatural.  Both are right and we do the message a disservice if we think we can exclude one against the other.