As Ordinary Time resumed last Sunday, there was a unique shift in the focus of Luke’s Gospel. While the first movement of the Gospel was a journey of discovering the “Son of God,” the second movement leads us to understand the journey to the Father. In short, it is the journey from conversion to commitment.
The narrative of today’s Gospel finds Saint Luke (10: 1-12, 17-20) giving the account of the appointing and sending of the seventy-two. With total dependence upon “harvest-master” who has sent them, they go focused on the mission that lies before them, completely aware of both the dangers and the blessings which they may/will encounter. With hope, they share that the Lord is coming and that His reign is at hand. Their only agenda is the Lord’s! Empowered with the Spirit, they exercise spiritual authority over that which is evil and bring about healing. Traditionally this Gospel reminds us to pray for vocations to both priesthood and religious life. And so we pray for those, male and female, young or older, that in the midst of the many callings that they may ponder in their lives, that they may hear the voice of the Lord which appoints and sends:
Holy Father, who, through urging all the faithful to perfect charity, never cease to prompt many to follow in the footsteps of your Son, grant, we pray, that those you have chosen for this special calling may, by their way of life, show to the Church and to the world a clear sign of your Kingdom.
Yet, this simply is not enough. If we relegate this Gospel challenge only to pray for vocations … for others to do the necessary work while we watch from the sidelines as if Christianity is a spectator sport … we have lost the principle message that all who are baptized into Christ Jesus are empowered, all are filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, and all are called to engage in missionary activity to bring others to the gift of faith!
May the week ahead be filled with every grace and blessing!