THE CALL TO MISSION
July 7, 2013
Today’s gospel: Luke 10:1-20
Jesus first sent out the Twelve. In this gospel he sends out the 72. Today, especially in these dark times in the life of the world, he sends out all of us who profess to be his disciples. The exhortation is still the same, after 2,000 years: “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few” (Lk 10:2a). And why would the harvest not be abundant? God Himself desires such a harvest, and to ensure it He sent His very own Son Jesus to suffer and die for us. Further, God provides abundant grace to people so that they can believe in the gospel, and the Holy Spirit provides the divine empowerment for those who proclaim it.
Where does it all break down? The laborers are few! This is tragic, since the potential laborers are so many. But those whom Jesus are calling are not leaving their fishing nets and their tax collectors posts. They are not engaging in the work of evangelization. They are fishing for everything in life except for men. And unfortunately, Jesus has made himself just reliant on them.
In doing mission for God, we are to be singleminded, because of the urgency of the task (Lk 10:4). We are not to be distracted. We are not to be held back by lack of resources. We are simply to trust in God’s provision, which He also provides through the support and assistance of others (Lk 10:7-8). We are not even to be held back by resistance or apathy from those we seek to evangelize. We simply move on (Lk 10:10-11).
We must know that we carry the authority of Jesus (Lk 10:16). We go in his name, to do his work, to accomplish his purpose, to bring his people back to him. And because we carry Jesus’ authority and are empowered by his Spirit, we already share in his victory over the forces of evil (Lk 10:17,19). Even though it seems at times that we are losing, when we are bruised and bloodied, when we lack the resources, when the tide of battle seems to turn against us, we know that we have been given “the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you.” (Lk 10:19).
The call to the New Evangelization has been sounded. But the call is 2,000 years old, issued by Jesus himself. We are to “cure the sick” (Lk 10:9a), that is, bring God’s healing into the lives of people, both physical, emotional, and especially spiritual. We are to proclaim the kingdom of God that has come among His people (Lk 10:9b).
Jesus once again tells us, as he told the 72, “Go on your way” (Lk 10:3a).
God bless you.
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21)