Gospel – Luke 10:1-9
At that time 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.'”
Reflection on the Gospel
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
Soon after Pentecost when the disciples were enlightened as to who Jesus really was and is, and understood Christ’s message, they went out to tell others the Good News. They now understood Christ’s teaching of love for all, both friends and enemies, AND doing good to
those who harm you. They now understood that the secret of peace and happiness, or what is called salvation, is to practice this message of Christ. They were, according to the Gospel, 70 in number.
Now you must understand that seven was a number used to dramatize the amount. Seven was to the Jews symbolized fullness, completeness. So 70 really meant that there were a lot of disciples, followers of Christ. They referred to themselves as followers of the Way,
meaning followers and doers of the message of Christ to unconditionally love all. They now understood that they are to be like lambs, meaning they are to be gentle, meek and patient. As Paul said, “You must be lambs among the wolves.” They must not be egocentric and lord it over others. They must carry one another’s burdens, not be a burden on others.
They now understood that not only the Jews, the circumcised, can be followers of the Way, but also the non-Jews. Everyone was invited to join them and enjoy the happiness and
peace coming out of love for all people. And they were asked to spread the Good News to all. Those who refused to accept them should not be punished or condemned. The disciples would simply “shake the dust” from their feet and move on.
“Carry no purse, no bag, and no sandals,” etc. was Christ’s command. In other words, to go to the people as poor people. The disciples were to live in poverty, dependent on the people of each village to give them shelter and sustenance. Why do you think they did this? I believe it is because they wanted to know if the people with whom they spoke really understood the message of Christ to love all and do good to
all. Many of the villagers who helped the disciples then experienced the joy of giving and felt more at peace. That is why Christ told them that when they enter someone’s house they should say, “Peace to this house.” They were told not to fear since love drives out fear.
We now understand that the disciples did not mean to set up a new religion or institution with all kinds of rules and regulations. They did not mean to introduce a hierarchy, a formal rite, or stipulations as to what they need to do or not do to belong to the institution. People were not to be condemned or killed for not following human-made rules. People have failed to understand this. As a result we do not have peace and happiness in the world.
They were to practice a new way of life… a life of giving to those in need, a life of humility and nonviolence, a life dedicated to peace through nonviolent action, a life of overcoming evil with goodness and love. This is what Christ did in His life on earth, and it is now the life
the followers of Christ had adopted. Let us all follow Christ, like the early followers, and experience the peace and joy coming from living a nonviolent and helpful life.
Don Timmerman is a member of the Casa Maria Catholic Worker Community in Milwaukee, WI and a
long-time peace activist.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts – Forever.