Monday, October 18, 2010
St. Luke, Evangelist
Today's Gospel is Luke 10:1-9, Jesus' sending of the seventy-two. The lesson focuses on the ministry. Readings that speak about the ministry seem out of place in today's milieu where being all things to all people has taken on a life of its own. We come to expect the Scripture to speak directly to us in every instance. All Scripture does indeed relate to us. This text relates to the people but first it is Jesus speaking to the ministry. This ministry as defined by Jesus is sent out.
There is a definite ordering in how Jesus sets up the ministry. First He sent the Twelve. Now He sends the seventy-two. These men are not just called, they are sent. They are not just sent out by any organization, but by the Lord Himself. As the Father sent Him and the Son sends the Spirit so He sends the Twelve and then the seventy-two to go before Him speaking of peace and the nearness of the kingdom of God. We may understand the sending of the seventy-two as a sending of the Spirit, such that there is no separation between them. Neither is this sending separate from the Church, of which Christ is the Head.
Jesus warns the seventy-two of opposition, they are as lambs among wolves. They are to earn their livelihood from this work of preaching the Gospel. Still, this is neither their focus nor concern. Neither opposition they will face nor their livelihood is their concern. Their focus is preparing the way of the Lord. They go ahead announcing peace to every household, no matter the reaction. The peace may or may not rest on those who hear but they bring His peace to people, telling them that the kingdom of God has come near unto them.
Knowing what we do of the history of the Church most of the Apostles were martyrs. The church calendar is full of martyrs from the early centuries. Jesus' death exemplified what was to follow. Scripture describes Jesus' death on the cross as bringing peace between God and men. Today's liturgical color is red. 2,000 years later the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church remains. Contrast this bloody history with Jesus sending His Spirit to the people using pastors and priests to announce God's peace upon them, preaching the Gospel, absolving them of their sins, administering the Lord's peace in the blessed Sacrament. "Peace be to this house."