7 October
Lk 10:17-24

The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!" He said to them, "I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it."

"I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning.”  Jesus is telling them that their ministry represents the defeat of Satan, the accuser. 

Satan was at first named Lucifer, which means ‘bearer of light’; but he became the prince of darkness.  Milton wrote:
Satan; so call him now, his former name
Is heard no more in heaven.
The name ‘Satan’ means ‘The Accuser’.  (Most of us grew up thinking God was the accuser.)  John’s vision of the end-time: “I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming, ‘Now…the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God’” (Revelation 12:10).  But already in the ministry of Jesus’ disciples, Satan was falling.  Their word of truth was destroying Satan’s power. 

What kind of truth were they speaking? They were not delivering theological lectures or engaging in philosophical debate.  Jesus had told them, “Cure the sick who are there, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' (Luke 10:9).  Nothing more.  The truth they spoke was not an accusing word (some preachers have made capital of that); it was a healing and hope-giving word, a word that built up rather than pulled down. 

“Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spiritand said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.’”  To intensely serious people joy looks a bit childish – because it isn't very logical and controlled, I suppose.  But Jesus was filled with joy, as Luke says.  Luke records that the disciples too were filled with joy (Acts 13:52).  In each case he says it is joy in the Holy Spirit.  Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit, mentioned next to love by Paul (Gal 5:22).  Children, and people who are capable of facing things directly, are capable of joy.  With others, there’s something sidelong and strategic in the way they see everything.  Clement of Alexandria sums up: “Jesus cried out in joy and in great delight, as if attuning himself to the spirit of the little ones.”

 
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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 

 

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