Reflection by Kathryn Mulderink
Today’s Gospel: Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
Last Sunday we heard how Jesus sent Apostles out ahead of Him to prepare the way, but they did not receive a warm welcome. Today, we hear that the Lord sent seventy-two disciples in pairs to “every town and place He intended to visit,” with very similar instructions. They were also sent to prepare the way for Him, and for His Good News.
In Genesis, we read of the origin of the seventy nations of the ancient world. In Exodus and Numbers, the prophet Moses chose seventy elders to share in His work and the spirit of prophecy. Luke echoes both of those to highlight that Jesus is establishing a leadership structure like that of Moses (and later, the Sanhedrin) and establishing a New Covenant, and also that this sending anticipates the Church’s mission to all the nations.
Jesus sends them ahead to represent Him with a commission: to preach and to heal as messengers of His mercy, in preparation for His arrival. They are to remain focused on that mission and alert to the reception they receive; there is a pattern of acceptance/rejection in this Gospel. If they are welcomed and offered hospitality, peace will rest on those who have received them. If they are not, then the disciples are to shake off even the dust of that town; like Sodom, those who fail to welcome the messengers of God will be punished!
These disciples return celebrating their success. Jesus redirects their joy and ours: they should not rejoice because of any “power” they exert in Christ’s name, but because it is a sign that they have been chosen by the Lord, and their names “written in heaven.”
Even if we could cast out demons, would all our rejoicing be in the Lord, in sharing His mission and serving and glorifying Him, not ourselves?
Lord, teach us to rejoice not because of any “power” we may experience in Your name, but because it is a sign that we are called by You, and loved by You.
Copyright 2019 Kathryn Mulderink
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