The Gospel according to Luke (10:1-12)
Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples 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.’ Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, ‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.’ Yet know this: the Kingdom of God is at hand. I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.”
In 2018, I, with a group of friends, went on the pilgrimage known as, El Camino de Santiago or The Way of Saint James. It is the closest experience I have that can compare with what the 72 Jesus sent ahead of him did. However, we had backpacks full of extra clothing and provisions. But the part I can relate to the most is getting into a town or city not knowing what to expect. There was an element of danger, at times, dependence on the kindness of strangers, and we entered homes with peace in our hearts hoping we would find hearts filled with peace. To no one’s surprise sometimes we did and sometimes we didn’t. In a sense, like we strive to do every day of our lives, we gave and received many blessings on our journey.
Like the 72, we are called by virtue of our Baptism and our desire to follow in Jesus’ footsteps to go out ahead of him to proclaim the good news. Not just in words but by example. To practice what we preach so that what we have to share will be offered with authenticity and sincerity.
There are a couple of other things in today’s gospel worthy of note. He tells the 72 to “stay in the same house” or “do not move about from one house to another.” Is he telling them not to be hasty or in a rush? Maybe he is telling us to slow down and be present, attentive, and appreciative of the hospitality and kindness of those we serve.
Also, twice we hear that the Kingdom of God is at hand. This is a proclamation to both individuals and to many. Those who accept the peace offered will dwell in that peace while those who reject it get a stern warning. Is this not the journey we are on? There are days or moments when the peace of Christ is available to us in some way, shape, or form and we joyfully accept. Other times, for whatever reason, we reject that same warm and wonderful peace. Isn’t it a good thing that our God is one of many chances.
Action of the day:
A likely reason we are deprived of peace is that we are so busy doing things or we are preoccupied with what needs to be done next. It has been said that one of the devil’s tactics in robbing us of our peace is to keep us so distracted we will not have time or energy for God. Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal a distraction that can be eliminated or minimized and replaced by time with the Lord.