The Church, as explained by the Second Vatican Council, is by her very nature missionary, since according to the plan of the Father, she has her origin in the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Gospel of today tells us that Jesus summoned his seventy committed people and sent them two by two to communicate God’s love, to bind up wounds and to be peace makers in a troubled world. The gospel passage describes Jesus sending seventy men for a mission, a wider mission. The number seventy was to the Jews symbolic:
First, 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).
Second, it was the number of the Sanhedrin, the supreme council of the Jews. If we relate the seventy to either of these bodies they will be the helpers of Jews.
Third, it was held to be the number of nations of in the world. Luke was the man with the 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. There is also a deeper implication in the two commissioning. In Jesus sending out the Twelve (Lk 9:1-6), representing the 12 tribes of Israel, Jesus suggests that, yes, “Salvation comes from the Jews.” And in the sending out of the Seventy, representing all the nations of the world (the progeny of Noah as suggested in Genesis 10) Jesus is inviting all peoples to receive the Good News and to pass it on. Their mission is to prepare the way to every town and place where Jesus Himself is to go. Jesus gives some instructions to these seventy men.
In Luke’s gospel Jesus says, “Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Today’s readings certainly fit the celebrative mood we are accustomed to on the Fourth of July.BACK TO LIST