This week the Lord sends the seventy-two out to spread the good news. He gives them very specific instructions of what they can take and how to act. Jesus teaches us from this that we as Church must always be focused on proclaiming the Gospel, even at the cost of prestige or comfort.
Every member of the Church is called to this work for Christ did not send out the twelve apostles of which the Bishops are successors, but the seventy-two disciples. So it is not the work of just the priests or the religious, but of all who call themselves followers of Christ. As the Catechism says:
“The duty of Christians to take part in the life of the Church impels them to act as witnesses of the Gospel and of the obligations that flow from it. The witness is a transmission of the faith in words and deeds. Witness is an act of justice that establishes the truth or makes it known.” (Cf. Mt 18:16)
All Christians by the example of their lives and the witness of their word, wherever they live, have an obligation to manifest the new man which they have put on in Baptism and to reveal the power of the Holy Spirit by whom they were strengthened in Confirmation” (Vatican Council II, Ad Gentes, 11).
Many of us are probably thinking right now of the mission to proclaim the Gospel but Luke also mentions healing and spreading the peace of Christ. We need to have an equal emphasis on healing as well. This ministry is downplayed so often today but can we believe that he is looking for people who are willing to pray for the healing of others, not just at a distance, but with hands on and up close standing in faith for the healing of a loved one or a fellow parishioner or even a stranger in need?
Christ also desires that we know God’s peace in our hearts and share it with others. There are so many who need to hear of God’s love for them and to know God’s peace in their lives, but he needs us to be willing to share it with them. Or do we think that God wants us to keep his love and his peace shut up within ourselves for our own personal lives? I don’t think so!
The cross is the center of our faith and each of us are called to be crucified to the world, to think or act not as the world but as other Christs, to be that new man or new woman we are called to be in Christ.
When we truly commit ourselves to Christ, we shall know the promise of Isaiah: “…your heart shall rejoice and your bodies flourish like the grass; the Lord’s power shall be known to his servants.” (Isaiah 66:14)
Father Michael Phillippino