– Fr. Denis Hooper OSB
Steve Jobs who passed away in the early two-thousands was the Chief Executive of the Apple Corporation – one of the most successful companies in the world. He had a unique approach to selling Apple products. He told his sales executives that they were not to try and sell the Apple computers – rather they were to sell “a dream”. A very clever approach to marketing.
The problem with dreams is that they seldom live up to expectations. When our dreams are realised they so often seem to be a letdown – they aren’t quite what we expected. The singer Peggy Lee released a song in the nineteen sixties titled “Is That All There Is?”
The song is about when her dreams actually became realities – all the milestones of her life – they were always a disappointment:
“is that all there is, is that all there is?
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing”
Closer to home, Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries and an occasional attendee at vespers here had a similar sentiment when she sang “and oh my dreams. It’s never quite what it seems never quite what it seems”
In today’s gospel, Jesus sends out seventy two desciples to bring his word to the Jewish world of Judea – half a million people.
The number seventy two – biblical scholars tell us – represents the number of nations in the world then. Scholars also tell us that the reason the number seventy two is used – in anticipation of Jesus’ message one day reaching the whole world.
There are one hundred and ninety five nations in the world today – compared to seventy two. The population of the entire world at the time of jesus was three hundred million. Today the population of the world is just short of eight billion. “the harvest is plenty but the labourers are few”
I am not so sure that seventy-two desciples would have been enough to cover the enitre region of Judea at the time of Christ let alone cover all nations in the world today: “the harvest is plenty but the labourers are few”
The fact that Jesus sends his disciples out in pairs is interesting: “where two or more are gathered in my name, I am with them”
It is evident from this that Jesus does not want his followers being “loners” or for them to go on solo runs. Look what happened to the two disciples who did go on solo runs: Judas his betrayer and Peter his denier
Jesus’ message of love and forgiveness is for everyone to discover – and always in the context of the world we live in. Jesus’ message is more powerful when it is communicated and listened to along with others: “Our Father” not “My Father”
The seventy two disciples were christ’s representatives to the whole world – as indeed Christians are his representatives in the whole world today. Jesus gives the disciples a list of rules to abide by when they are on their Mission – which basically says that they should offer everyone the chance to hear the word of God.
And if they refuse God’s word then so be it. The disciples are to move on. Jesus wants his disciples to be like him in the way they represent him – in the way they live their lives. And we are called in the same way: to live lives that others can see – we are today’s representatives of Christ. It doesn’t matter what our station in life is – as christians we seek to live the reality of Christ.
If we fail to live out the reality that Christ offers us we will never be able to persuade others to do the same. And they will reject us outright. And rightly so as we are only offering them a dream.
Steve Jobs offered people “the dream”. We Christians don’t offer the dream; we offer the reality – and that reality must be evident in how we live our lives – following the example Jesus gave us.
So, at every opportunity we Christians are called to live our lives Christ’s reality. Often we fail to live up to the example Christ has given us. But we must call on Christ, we must call on one another for the grace we need to be Christ’s representatives – every single day of our lives.