Fr. Ottavio Raimondo
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him, in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself was to visit
We are facing the longest meditation upon mission. Jesus focuses his attention on mission nature, on the joys and the fatigues that mission brings about. According to the language of that time the lamb meant Israel’s people, the wolves meant the other people. So we can translate as: I send you as the new people of Israel among the other people. But nothing can prevent us to read the sentence “like lambs among wolves” as reference to the messianic time that Isaiah describes, that is time of universal peace and reconciliation. Jesus forbids to his disciples to have usual thing that any pilgrim had, according to that time. Jesus tells to the disciples of yesterday and today, so also to us, that his messengers have to put all their trust in Him and in the community.
Whatever house you go into, let your first words be: “Peace to this house”.
Jesus doesn’t limit himself to forbid. He says to his disciples to give peace through preaching and miracles. He means that the disciples bring the peace of Jesus, the master, and their own peace “your peace”. So that the peace of both of them, Jesus and the disciple, means justice, freedom, dialogue, growing up, and equality. It is the mutual recognition of the same human dignity, respect and acceptation of diversity as a gift. This means to live face to face, not skull to skull.
Jesus’ peace is coming from afar: it’s the unique water able to quench the thirst of the world, the unique water that can answer to our need of happiness. This pace is like the water of the aqueduct that mostly comes down from heaven and only in some degree comes from the resource of the earth, so it’s a peace that has to be brought to all.
According to this commitment, the disciples sometimes have to wipe off the dust that clings to their feet in order not to introduce impure matters into their own lives. All this requires a lot of courage and the power of the Holy Spirit so that we are able to wipe off the very dust of a society and many other realities that are not rooted on peace and finally don’t give any room to God’s dream: fullness of life for anyone.
Rejoice rather that our names are written in heaven.
When our community used to send people, old and young, to evangelize, we were used to read this evangelic paragraph and our interest was focused on these three key words: rejoicing, exulting and to be blessed. We used to say each other that to evangelize means to work for something that doesn’t pass away, but it remains; to evangelize means to work in accordance with God’s plan, and it also means to say to anyone that God’s horizons are meant for the eternity. Finally we were used to end with this slogan useful for all: the Christian who evangelize is the very one who comes true. To evangelize is to reach the target. The one who evangelizes announcing the fidelity of God is a true disciple of Jesus who is the good new of the Father. We should never forget that the sticks, the sackcloth, the bags or the sandals aren’t the means of the evangelizer, but the fair mean is the trust in God and in the community. Mission and announcing is the only way that can make the Christian really happy and blessed. We don’t have other ways.