After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road.
Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town.
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus sends the disciples out in pairs to prepare the way for him and to declare that “the Kingdom of God is at hand for you.” There is something to be said about sending the apostles out in pairs, not only for safety purposes, but for moral support, faith support and accountability. As Jesus calls each of us to labor with and for him, we are being sent “like lambs among wolves.” In our society where division, inequality, and injustice occur, the message of the Gospels is counter-cultural. But we are not called to do this alone. Jesus is sending us out to minister with others, whether friends, family or those from our faith communities. The challenge we face is to find individuals we can minister with. And we have the Holy Spirit to guide us. Not only does Jesus fill us with his love, he sends us. Despite adversities in sharing Jesus love and mercy, the labor he is sending us to do is a labor of love.
—Joseph Hamaty is the Executive Director of Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Dallas, Texas.
Lord God, give me strength and courage in the face of adversity. I know you are calling me to be a lamb among wolves, but I humbly ask for your guidance and assistance. There is much work to be done in this world downtrodden by division, inequality, temporal satisfactions and more. If it should please you, place someone in my life to labor with. Fill me with the fire of the Holy Spirit, so I may carry this fire on to others. Jesus is sending each and every one of us, whether we have someone to labor with or not; he is sending us to spread his love, just like St. Ignatius once said, “Go set the world on fire.”
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