1.Is 66:10-14
2.Gal 6:14-18
Gospel: Luke 10:1-12,17-20

                             "Are we ready to be sent?"

What happens when we apply for job either in government or private companies? the answer is very clear that when we are writing an application for that particular job we present our best credentials to the employers as much as we can. We do present our qualifications for that job in the following manner: that we graduated with first class, or summa cum laude; that our previous job were like these and we present known people as our references and referees so that the employers may be impressed by our curriculum vitae, ( CV). In other words, we present ourselves that we are the best of all the best.

Likewise, if we are employers or owners of a certain company and we intend to pirate good personnel from other companies, we also want to make good proposals to the ones we want to hire. We say and suggest to them: " I will double your salary, I will give more benefits. After one year, you will be promoted. " In other words, we present ourselves that we are the best of all the best.

In our today's gospel Jesus is quite different. Jesus is asking and hiring too, men to become His disciples and prospective missionaries of His word. Jesus tells them: " Come and follow me so that you will be persecuted, so that you will be tried in court; so that you will live simply and walk humbly, so that you will have difficult life. If you are very lucky, you will be killed too and you will work for me not only 8 hours a day but 24 hours a day.

We may ask ourselves this question, that what do we do when we apply for a job to Jesus Christ? we do not day: " I am the best, so hire me," but rather we say: " I am the worst. Make something good out of me." That is why, very few of us apply for a job with Christ as missionaries of His word because we experience not pleasure but pressure we could not  say: " We are the best," but rather we say: " We are the worst of all." We could not announce to all that we are saints but rather sinners.

As we hear in our today's gospel Jesus sending the seventy-two other disciples to preach His word of salvation, He also calls each one of us to share in the task of evangelization. Whatever be our situation and status in life, whether we are parents, teachers, employees, employers professionals or students, we are also being sent by Christ to be missionaries of His word of salvation. It wrong to say that preaching the word belongs exclusively to nuns, priest, religious brothers or sisters. The evangelii Nuntiandi of Paul VI that the evangelized becomes now the evangelizers clearly he meant that by virtue of our baptism and confirmation, we share in the mission of Christ by imitating Him and by proclaiming through the words of mouth and the deeds of our actions.

Jesus in today's gospel appointed seventy two and sent them by pair for a mission. Three reasons were involved in sending them forth in pairs: 1.mutual support; 2) bearing witness to the truth of their testimony ( Deut 19:15); 3. Living embodiment of the gospel of peace, ( vv 5-6). The most famous pair in the history of the church was  Paul and Barnabas. Here we get the impression that the mission of Christ is not a personal endeavor, rather it is the mission that needs communion and collaboration. The mission of Christ is the shared mission, it is not the mission to done in loneliness.

The number seventy was to the Jews symbolic: it was the number of the elders who were chosen to help Moses with the task of leading and directing the people in the wilderness ( Num 11:16-17, 24, 25); it was the number of the Sanhedrin, the supreme council of the Jews; furthermore, it was held to be the number of nations in the world. St. Luke the evangelist was the man with the concept of universalist view and it may well be that he was thinking of the day when every nation in the world would know and love his Lord.

Hearing the gospel today can be compared to people sitting in on a very important business meeting. It seems we are listening to a sales manager giving orders to his staff as they get ready to set  out on a new sales campaign. In fact it Jesus preparing His staff of seventy-two for their first great missionary journey, a kind of sales job. He gave them instructions which were practical  and specific, but He insisted very much on the kind of behavior that they should have.

Nevertheless, today we have to look at this story of sending the seventy from a different perspective, from the perspective of those being sent(missionaries themselves) rather than from the perspective of those receiving the message.

First, they are being given an invitation to pray. He said: " Ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest,(v2). Pray as if everything depended on God, work at it as if everything depended on your contribution, this is simply because prayer is an invisible connection between us and God; it is unseen conduit of goodness and grace. When we pray for laborers we never pray to have a greater number, rather we pray for people to accept and understand that the task is bigger than we can accomplish.

Second, Jesus urges them to act with innocence, honesty, never having recourse to trickery or deceit of any kind, if I want to be a good minister I must always cultivate a good personal relationship with God. We pray every day, and what we ask God in our prayers is to be faithful to our calling.

Third, Jesus tells his disciples he is sending into the mission that they must travel light. Moreover, they should not be preoccupied with material things.  Their priorities should lay in the things of God. In verse 4 of today's gospel Jesus tells his disciples, "Carry no purse, no backpacks, no sandals. Surely this is an invitation to depend on the providence of God. God provides to us laborers through our brothers and sisters we serve.

Fifth, the disciples have to perform cures and cast out demons. Jesus further places special emphasis on the work of curing the sick. In the work of spreading the good news, this is not an optional task, rather it is an obligation. Someone may ask: Is health of body necessary for salvation? Is holiness of soul not enough? There is no way we can preach holiness without wholeness. Thus our mission has to do with the whole person, body and soul as well.

In one of the Vatican II documents, there is one document entitled,' Apostolicam Actuostatem no.6 says: " There are innumerable opportunities open to the laity for the exercise of their apostolate of making the gospel known and men holy. The witness of Christian lives and good works done in a supernatural spirit have the power to draw men to belief and to God.

In our gospel Jesus says: " The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few...." What can we compare the harvest with?" Today, the harvest consist of:
1. Those people who have not heard of Christ. According to a statistical survey, out of the six billion population of the world, 33% of these are Christians and 20% of these 33% are Catholics. Accordingly, 77% of the world population are non-Christians or uninfluenced by the gospel.
2.Those people who have heard of Christ but has no opportunity to know Him better.
3.Those people who have known and heard Christ, baptized and became Christians but they do not practice what they had learned and received. They relinquished the religion and became nominal and cafeteria Catholic Christians. Who are they? They are your neighbors, members of your own family, friends and many more.

Let me end my sharing with this little story: There was a conversation between Ten thousand Tanzania shillings and one thousand note Tanzania shillings. After their long life, they had come to the end of their usefulness and were about to be destroyed. The ten thousand speaks, " I don't mind. I had a good run. I have been in many excellent restaurants, five star hotels, casinos and best beaches. I had been on great vacations. I have seen wonderful theater in my day." Then the ten thousand asks the one thousand shillings " How about your pilgrim? what kind of a time have you had?" Down cast, the thousand Tanzania shillings responded, " Lousy,! I have spent most of my life at the bottom of collection baskets in Catholic churches," We actually laugh at this story, but the laugh is on us. The question for meditation in this story is that, where do we invest much? where do we put our highest expectations? Do we put our highest expectations to spritual life or material things?

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Chapisha Maoni