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The Lord sends his 72 disciples on a mission. It is a mission of three things:
First, it is a mission of peace. Peace is not only the absence of conflict. Peace is not only the end of war. Peace is having the right relationships: the right relationships among people, and the right relationship between humanity and the world. There will be no peace if men and women abuse one another. There can be no peace if men and women abuse creation. So when we squander creation, when we take our environment for granted, when we make our air dirty, when we put garbage in the sea, when we exploit our land and denude our forests, we are all committing sins against peace. Peace is not only the absence of conflict. Peace is rather the right relationships among all creation.
Second, it is a mission of trust. It is a simple mission. There is no need for extra money or extra clothes. It is not because the Lord wants the 72 to be miserable. It is rather because the Lord wants the 72 to depend completely on him. It is so simple that in its simplicity, people discover greatness. It is a mission of trust, relying on God. No telephones, no faxes, no computers, no slide projectors, but simply relying on the Lord.
Third, it is a mission of joy. We are really being sent to make people discover joy in the Lord. It is not simply to make others happy; it is to tell them to discover the joy in serving the Lord. It is not an easy task because joy can only come about if there is trust in our hearts, and joy can only come about if there is peace among men and women.
Now the question that must be answered is this: “When the 72 disciples are gone, who will now carry out their mission?” It is not only us priests. The mission of the 72 is inherited by every Christian. In other words, the mission of peace, the mission of trust, and the mission of joy are the mission of every Christian. And you have received it on account of your baptism. When I was baptized, I received that mission. When you were baptized with water in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, you also received the mission.
A priest-friend was working in a hospital, when he had to attend to a young man in his 20s who was dying of cancer. The priest ministered to the young man with such a spirit of gentleness and a shepherd’s love for his flock. He was so inspiring and so prayerful, really a holy man. When the young man was on his deathbed, my priest-friend asked him, “Young man, are you not afraid to die?” And the youth, sick with cancer, looked at my priest-friend and said, “Father, if God is like you, I am not afraid to die.”
That is the mission of every Christian. May people see us and see Christ in us. Would that somebody say of us, “If God is like you, I will not be afraid to die.”
Looking For Jesus