In 1979, Immaculate Conception Parish on Chicago's northwest side celebrated the 75th anniversary of its' founding. One of its' several Jubilee projects involved the grade school children and invited them to help in the construction of a time capsule which would describe life in the 3rd quarter of the 20th Century at I.C. Parish. Some of the items they collected were a baseball with the names of the Chicago Cubs, a Chicago Tribune, a parish bulletin and a school uniform. The capsule remains buried under a headstone in front of the school waiting for just the right moment to be opened again.
Today's Gospel is a kind of "time capsule" that captures an important moment in the history of the Church-when Jesus first entrusted his mission and healing powers to others. No telephone. No TV. No radio. No books. No internet. The only way the Gospel could get around was on foot, and this is what it looked like. Twelve men sent out in pairs, each with one stick, one tunic, one pair of sandals. No food. No money. No travelling bag.
Marshal McLuhan, the communication guru of the 6o's coined the phrase, "The medium is the message" or, "What you see is what you get." But we don't need Marshal McLuhan to tell us not to trust someone who arrives in a limousine wearing a Rolex watch and a diamond ring who tells us to live simply and poorly.
What does the message of God look like when you meet it on the road? Like Jesus, of course. But also like the followers of Jesus. The mission of Jesus is not locked in a time capsule. We too are invited to carry the message, and proclaim it powerfully by who we are and what we do. May we be faithful to The One who sends us!
Fr. Jim Strommer, C.P. is a member of the Provincial Council and lives in Chicago, Illinois.