The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; ask therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. Luke 10:2
God of the covenant, in our baptism you called us
to proclaim the coming of your kingdom:
give us courage, as you gave it to the apostles,
that we may faithfully witness to your love and
peace in every circumstance of life;
in the name of Jesus Christ our Redeemer,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of
the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
- 2 Kings 5:1-14
- Psalm 30
- Galatians 6:7-18
- Luke 10:1-12, 17-24
- Amos 7:7-17
- Psalm 82
- Col 1:1-14
- Luke 10:25-37
Fourth Sunday after Pentecost – Luke 10:1-12, 17-24
“Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’”
Jesus commissions 72 messengers to go before him to prepare for his arrival in the towns along his route to Jerusalem. The number 72 symbolized for the Jews the number of the world’s Gentile nations. In keeping with Luke’s use of symbolic numbers and his Gentile perspective, the 72 disciples represent the new Church’s mission to every nation and people under heaven.
Jesus instructs the seventy-two:
- to keep focused on the ways and values of God – travel light, accept the simple hospitality of those you visit;
- to proclaim God’s peace “amid wolves”;
- to offer hope and healing, not judgement and condemnation;
- to find satisfaction not in what they have done in God’s name but to rejoice in what God has done through them.
Jesus’ vision of Satan’s fall assures the disciples of every age that, despite the dangers of “serpent and scorpion” (First Testament symbols of evil); the good that they do out of faithfulness to their call will ultimately triumph.
Jesus instructs his disciples to “travel light” – not to clutter up our lives with material things and material values, like the pursuit of wealth, status and power.
The Gospel challenges us to make the hard choice and the unpopular decision, to endure the raised eyebrows and suspicious stares of those whose lifestyles and power bases are challenged by the demanding teachings of Jesus.
Jesus sends the seventy-two forth with no magical powers; he invests them with no special authority. They are to go about their work with humility and joy. They are to offer peace to all. They are to accept whatever hospitality is offered to them with gratitude. They are to be Jesus’ agents for healing and reconciliation. And Jesus promises that they will make a difference in people’s lives — and their dedication to the work of the Gospel will make a difference in their own lives, as well.
Jesus commissions the seventy-two disciples of the Gospel – and us – to proclaim peace – peace that is centred in embracing Christ’s attitude of servanthood and his spirit of compassion, peace that enables us to bring forth the good that exists within everyone, peace that is returned to us in extending the blessing of that peace to others.