Gospel Luke 10:1-12,17-20
‘The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him…’
They were sent. 72 of them.
Often we think that the Apostles were limited to the twelve, and of course, these twelve do play a particular role, but here we have something else happening. Jesus sends out a great many people, 72, to prepare the people of those places that he was to visit for his coming.
This tells us something of the Divine pedagogy – God does not become man in Christ Jesus to reveal himself by surprise on an unsuspecting world. Rather, he began slowly, singling out a man, Abraham, and from him a nation of people. These he taught through his prophets, and then, when the fullness of time had come, he came amongst them as one of them. [cf. Gal 4:4]
What we learn throughout the history of salvation is played out in miniature in today’s Gospel reading – the loving God prepares the people for his coming. When he enters their existence, he does so after having prepared them for his coming, and only at their welcoming invitation.
What he brings to them, and what he brings to us, is something that is beyond their understanding and beyond their reach. He calls them and us, to a sanctity of life that is beyond the merely legalistic following of laws, but one of radical freedom and of love. He calls them to a supernatural happiness or beatitude that is not within their reach alone, yet which we all, in our nature long for.
No matter where we are along this journey, we are called to be like the 72, in preparing the way for Christ to coming to the lives of those to whom we come in to contact.