America, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!

Go Forth and Announce the Good News

Today’s Gospel reading about the laborers in the vineyard is all too familiar. It would be easy to let this passage remain in days gone by and to focus on Jesus’ message to the seventy-two he appoints for this particular mission. All Christians, however, share in some way Jesus’ mission and the mission of the seventy-two. Let us draw forth from the passage a prayer for our time and place as the Fortnight for Freedom draws to a close:

Master of the Harvest,
equip and send laborers to cities
and towns throughout America
to announce
“the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!”

As your appointed laborers spread
the Peace of God across our nation,
may hearts open and receive
the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Destroy the works of the evil one.
May the blind see and the deaf hear.
Our country was founded on Christian
values, but the errors of relativism
have eroded what was once a sure foundation.
Rebuild America on the rock of Truth.
May the people be filled with your peace
and spread your peace to all nations.

Preserve your laborers on their journey.
Let them not be distracted by temporal
things or discouraged when people
reject their message. Fill your laborers
with trust that you provide for all
their needs, material and spiritual.

As we await your coming,
as we receive your laborers
and listen to them as we
would receive and listen to you,
may we give thanks and praise
and rejoice together
that our names are written in heaven.

Amen.

Scripture of the Day: Luke 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.”

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