The 70 returned from their first mission with joy. The 70—the new tier beyond the 12 disciples, the freshmen, the newcomers, the beginners—they return enthusiastic, confident, and caught up in what they could do. “Lord, in your name, even the demons submit to us!”
Jesus affirms the mission went well. Much good happened. “Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” What matters is what God does for you. Jesus calls them back to basics. Get excited about God’s actions, not yours.
Then Jesus prays: “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.” Put another way: you have hidden these things from those who think they know it all and revealed them to newcomers, to beginners.[i] God loves beginners and teaching basics.
Here in the monastery, a key stage of formation is the novitiate, for novices, beginners. We also regularly acknowledge, especially as we read through our Rule of Life, that the novitiate is life-long. We are all beginners, all returning to basics. Basics including: What excites me? What should excite me? Where am I caught up in focus on myself and my abilities?
God loves us beginners, both the really fresh and those long on the journey who acknowledge they still need to be refreshed with the basics. Jesus loves to keep teaching us. That’s a cause for rejoicing.
[i] adapted from The Message
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