First Reading: Isaiah 66:10-14
Gospel: Luke 10:1-12.17-20
Luke’s mention of the sending out of the seventy-two disciples on mission parallels that of the sending out of the twelve apostles elsewhere in the gospels. It is clear that the practice of the early church of sending out missionaries in pairs finds an echo in Luke’s account; for example in Acts Paul and Barnabas are sent out on mission together and, when they have a falling-out, Paul brings Silas with him, while Barnabas takes on John Mark (Acts 15:36-41). St. Dominic followed this example when, in the early days, he sent out his followers “two by two” to spread the Word.
Travelling in poverty and being at one with the people ministered to was to be a hallmark of the call of discipleship, one which Dominic took on board in his time, relying on the providence of God as he journeyed on his preaching mission throughout Europe.
Missionaries of every age are called on to bring the good news that “the Kingdom of God is very near to you.” Bringing the Kingdom near will call for different approaches in different ages, but it will always involve curing the causes of evil and suffering in people’s lives by revealing to them the great mercy of God for God’s people. As the first reading puts it, God will comfort the people as a mother comforts her child. Even if our lot is not to go around preaching barefoot, we are all called to take part in the bringing in of the harvest, at the very least by praying “the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.”
Céline Mangan, O.P.