Gospel of Peace
In the gospel of today, Jesus says that the harvest is large and there are not enough people to do the necessary work. So Jesus appointed seventy two and sent them by pair for a mission. The number seventy two 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); furthermore, it was held to be the number of nations in the world.
In the same manner, St. Luke wants to tell us that the mission of Jesus is the responsibility of every believer in Jesus; this is the right and duty of every baptised person to preach the Gospel. Whatever be our situation and status in life, whatever 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 bishops, priests, religious brothers and sisters. We can’t identify Jesus’ group as bishops, priests or laity. Whoever they were, their mission was to proclaim the Good News about Jesus.
How are we going to do this? Pope Paul VI said that the task of evangelization 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 our words and our deeds.
That Good News, though, was tough and realistic. It included the truth that Jesus didn’t come to bring perfection to this world, and that we must not only be grateful for his salvation but must actually share it by carrying our responsibilities. Although we can’t offer instant solutions to all problems or suffering, Jesus’ Good News can alone provide true peace.
One of the most beautiful words in the English Language is “peace”. Peace isn’t merely the absence of war; it is the work of justice and the effect of charity. With our cooperation, God’s power can transform this world, with all its problems, into a place of peace and justice. Prophet Isaiah also proclaims that, if people cooperate, God will send peace flowing like a river though any landscape that is dry of it.
May all of us free of discouragement, impatience, and anger in failure in our efforts for peace, and be sincere, humble, and wise in seeking it; peace-seeking and peace-making are the highest callings within civilization; in our daily lives we must reflect non-violence as a positive force. Let us repeat constantly the beautiful words Jesus advised: “Peace be to this household”. Peace is our greeting, and peace is our mark. Peace is one of the signs of the presence of the kingdom. May God’s peace be in our hearts and in our homes. Amen. Thank you.
Fr. Joseph Pham Quoc Van, O.P.