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In Luke 10:1-12, Jesus sent the Seventy-two out on a mission to visit villages around the country with instructions of how to convert souls and expand the Kingdom by preaching the new Word of God.  They were to enter a house, wish it peace, eat what is offered to them, and cure the sick.  They were to take nothing with them, placing their trust in divine providence. He told them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”  By this, He was asking his disciples to make disciple-makers.

When we read this passage we are naturally brought to reflect on our own efforts and success at being disciples and making disciple-makers – something at which most of us fail miserably.  But, these last couple of days, my thoughts have been more about being on the receiving end of the efforts of these trusting and courageous missionary disciples.  In other words, what was it like to welcome these disciples into your home and receive the peace of the Lord through them?

This week my wife and I experienced just that.  On Wednesday, we welcomed five young women, ages 18 to 20, into our home for two days.  They are part of a team of eight (three young men were hosted by another family) from NET Ministries, a Catholic organization whose mission is to reach out “and challenge young Catholics, through relational ministry, to follow Christ and embrace a life of community in the Church.”

We had never done anything like this before.  But, with our four daughters out of the “nest”, we welcomed the opportunity to offer hospitality to these young adults who are laboring for the harvest.

This team, NET Team 3, is regional to the Cincinnati area.  They cover a territory of Southwestern Ohio, Southern Indiana, and Northern Kentucky.  They travel to a different location and minister to high school and junior high school youths every couple of days, staying with an equal number of different hosts.  They are committed for a year to this life on the road, traveling with only what they can pack in their suitcase, and relying on the hospitality of those in the local Catholic communities.

NET Team 3

They arrived on Wednesday evening with only a suitcase and a backpack each, and two guitars.  After showing them to their rooms and beds we gathered in our living room around a cozy fire in the fireplace and began getting to know each other, swapping stories about life and our personal faith journeys.  Sharing came easily with no hesitation to go beyond superficialities.  There was an aura of peacefulness about them.  Their faith was evident without being in-your-face preachy.  I’m sure they had had a long and arduous day but they gracefully stayed up with us to pray a Rosary before retiring for the evening.

Thursday morning we were blessed to prepare a good breakfast for them before they headed off to a local Catholic high school to hopefully save a few souls from succumbing to the ways of the world.    They returned that evening and we enjoyed a fine home-cooked dinner (if I do say so myself!).  I got the sense that they appreciated not having pizza because they came back for seconds! Throughout dinner and then, again, afterwards around another fire, we continued with good conversation and friendship.  A guitar was uncased and we sang a few songs together.  

On Friday morning we were all up early as the team had to head about an hour south to their next retreat.  We prepared a breakfast for them to take with them.  We exchanged hugs and blessings and wished each other well.  Then they were gone.  But, they left behind the memory of thirty-six hours of peacefulness well spent, and the hope that we might be able to do it again sometime soon.  

Their mission is to grow the Kingdom of God with students and young adults.  But, I wonder if they know the impact they have on us old folks?  The joy they emanate by doing the Lord’s work brings hope to us all that some of the sickness in the world will be cured.  Thank you NET Team 3 for bringing your joy and hope to this house!

“Dear Lord, thank You for inspiring these young women and men to be disciple-makers for Your Kingdom.  Thank You for the opportunity to serve You by serving them.  I pray You abundantly bless Mally, Maggie, Elizabeth, Rebecca, and Terese as they labor for Your harvest.  Amen.”

(Getting Caught in the NET was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)

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