Reflections on Scripture Fourteenth Sunday Ordinary Gospel C

By 10:40 AM




          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.

These seventy-two are disciples other than the twelve apostles who also are sent on mission. This number is significant because in the Old Testament Moses chose seventy men upon whom God poured out his Spirit and they prophesied. But there were two others who remained in the camp and they too received the same outpouring of the Spirit and manifested the same gift of prophesy. 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. Notice he said to pray for more laborers. Is anything different today? The harvest is just as ripe today and the need for more workers in the vineyard of the Lord is equally as great. So what are we suppose to do? Are we? Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Besides asking them to pray, he also indicated that they were to do the work themselves. Is your call rooted in baptism and confirmation any different? How are you responding? Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. There is a sense of urgency and dependency. Do you have the same sense? Look around your family. How many truly are on fire for God? Look around at the people you associate with at work or other places. Is their faith alive? What do you think God may be saying to you? 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. The focus of not moving from house to house was to avoid the appearance that they were looking for the best accommodations and meals. The proclamation of the message of salvation was more important than their comfort or well being. 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.’ Here is the key to their missionary thrust: speak the truth and confirm it with signs and wonders. This was the same process Jesus used. To make sure that the people would believe the message he proclaimed, Jesus would follow it with some confirmation or use a sign or wonder and then give a teaching, so that the teaching would be better received.
The sign and wonder were essential in the ministry of Jesus. Should it be less for us? If Jesus sets the pattern for us, should we not follow his plan?
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." It was not the task of the disciples to make the people respond to their message, but just to proclaim the message with confirmation. The burden of acceptance was on those who heard. Sometimes we think that we have to make people act on the message we share with them rather than just be faithful to the call God gave us and leave the response up to the hearer. The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name." Not only did they do signs and wonders, they also saw signs and wonders that God revealed. Jesus said, "I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power to ‘tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven." They were not to focus on the results of their missionary activities but on what God did through them.
What message is God giving you upon reflecting on this passage?

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