The theme of today’s Gospel, like last Sunday’s Gospel is discipleship and all the difficulties, challenges and rewards that come from following Jesus. We are all called to be missionaries to spread the Good News of the Gospel and to increase the Kingdom of God.
Sharing in the mission of Jesus is difficult, but there are many places in our lives where we can be missionaries. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we work, or at home or in our communities or even with our friends where we can show God’s love in a single gesture of caring or kindness. Simply accepting another person, understanding or forgiving them can be a way of showing them that the Kingdom of God has begun.
Jesus appoints 72 people to go ahead of him to every place which he is to visit, proclaiming that the Kingdom of God is near. He sends them in pairs, maybe for safety reasons but according to the Law of Moses two witnesses were needed for a testimony to be credible.
They are to take nothing with them, no bag no purse no sandals, Jesus’ teachings and healing is all that they need. When they enter a house, their message is simply “peace.” The response they receive may be positive or negative. Jesus relies on us as he did those first disciples, to make his offer of peace to others, he needs our help to evangelize. When they return from their journeys, they are rejoicing because their mission has been successful. Demons were under their power because of the name of Jesus. Although Jesus sent them out as lambs among wolves he assures them that nothing will harm them, not even serpents and scorpions.
When we tell others about the peace which God offers, we are evangelizing. As Christians we are called to be witnesses of God’s love, which is freely available to all people. Evangelization is played out in our everyday actions and conversation and in our pastoral and sacramental duties. Even our bodies are a part of our evangelization especially within our families. Pope Francis reminds us that “all of us are called to offer others an explicit witness to the saving love of the Lord, who despite our imperfections offers us his closeness, his word and his strength, and gives meaning to our lives”(Evangelii Gaudium-‘The Joy of the Gospel’).