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The Witness of Working Two by Two
Feast of Saint Luke, Evangelist
The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’”
Opening Prayer: Jesus, you chose to work through others, and you still choose to do so. As I come to this time of prayer, I am aware that you call me to mission. It’s not enough that I live a good and moral life, and that I pray, but that through my baptism I became responsible for joining you in your mission. You have called me. Lord, I turn to you with faith, hope, and love. Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.
- The Laborers Are Few: There is no question that the Lord needs laborers. Our collaboration has always been a part of God’s plan for humankind. We need men who say yes to Christ’s call to the priesthood and provide a personal encounter with Jesus through the sacraments. We need deacons who assist them. We need men and women religious who labor single-heartedly to build the Kingdom of Christ. And we need committed laymen and—women who live their vocation to transform the world. We can feel that the “laborers are few,” that there are so few actively working to bring the light of Christ to the world, and we can feel like “lambs among the wolves” when we try to address the challenging social issues of today’s world. However, Christ tells us today, as he told the seventy-two, that “The harvest is abundant…so ask the master to send out laborers.” May we pray regularly for vocations!
- Sent in Pairs: It might seem that being sent out individually would be more efficient—that more people could be reached—but Jesus was concerned not only about those who would be reached by the seventy-two but also about the seventy-two themselves. The two working together had the opportunity to witness to the communion to which we are called within the body of Christ. They also had the opportunity to provide a witness to charity in their teamwork. How often do we invite others to the joy of serving the Lord and building Christ’s Kingdom?
- Stability and Joy in Service: Jesus directed the seventy-two to accept the hospitality of others saying, “Do not move about from one house to another.” He was encouraging stability in their mission. In the life of service, it can be tempting to move from one apostolate to another as challenges arise. However, persevering through the trials to provide a stable outreach is an essential part of any mission. It is said that people respond to a call of action only after seven or eight “touches.” Persevering is also important to the one working in the apostolate, as it is an opportunity to grow in self-knowledge, skills, and dependence on Christ. Apostolate can be a great source of joy. In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis writes, “The Gospel joy which enlivens the community of disciples is a missionary joy. The seventy-two disciples felt it as they returned from their mission.”
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, sometimes it seems like I have little to offer. It seems that my time is so limited. I’m not sure what my talents are or how they can be used to serve you. It seems as if there are so many who are better prepared or more capable. I’m not sure I’m really needed. However, as I reflect on today’s Gospel, I can’t help but feel a renewed hope, and a sense of responsibility to share your message with others. I ask for courage, inspiration, and zeal to face the challenges of today’s world and work to build up your Kingdom.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will spend ten minutes prayerfully considering how you may be calling me to build up the Kingdom.
For Further Reflection: Read Evangelii Gaudium and be inspired.
Janet McLaughlin and her husband Chris live on a mountain in rural northeastern Oregon. She puts her Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies to work as she shares the beauty and importance of the lay vocation in her writing, speaking, and teaching on spiritual topics.
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