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The mission of the seventy-two

Gospel Reading: Lk 10:1-9
The Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’ ”

Jesus sends them out in pairs. What they do is only a start, since they are to pray for more workers for the harvest.

Using agricultural imagery for a spiritual harvest is common in Judaism (cf e.g. Is 27:11-12; Hos 6:11; Jl 4:13).

With conversion comes the responsibility to join the task of sharing the good news. The fact that these workers emerge as a result of intercession stresses that God is the sovereign source of such blessing. God is Lord of the harvest, leads the mission, and is responsible for “sending out” workers into the field. The missions are a matter not of marketing but of the Lord’s directing his people to share faithfully the grace they have experienced. Such ministry is not easy, for the workers are “like lambs among wolves.” There is danger and hostile rejection from all sides (cf 9:51-56). In Judaism, wolves often represent those who consume their enemy. Despite the danger, the disciples must go forth to perform their calling. Such danger requires the workers to travel light – “no money bag, no sack, no sandals.” Their mission is urgent. They are to rest in the knowledge that God will provide for them since “the laborer deserves his payment.” Their main responsibility is to heal the sick and declare the arrival of God’s Kingdom.

The call to share in God’s blessing is the greatest vocation one can possess.

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SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2016,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.