Apples and Oranges

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5 October 2017

It is Luke – and only St. Luke – who recounts the call of the seventy-two disciples into the intimacy and vigour of Jesus’ mission. He does this in chapter 10 of his Gospel. This is our gospel for today.

In chapter 9, Luke recounts the calling of the twelve – the apostles.

The calling of the twelve and the seventy-two is quite similar, with a few differences. Perhaps this is something that might interest you this day? You can compare the texts if you so desire.

What is important is that Jesus calls each of us, in and through, our baptism. Some of us – very few – are called to full-time service within the Church community. Catholic – Christian – communities need leadership, governance, discernment, conversion, celebration, administration, etc.

However, the majority of us are called to service within the community at large. The world needs witnesses to Christ more than anything else. We are called to be “salt of the earth and light of the world” (Matthew 5).

Which calling is better or superior? It is a silly question. You can’t compare apples and oranges. They are both fruits, but different.

The best for you is what Christ calls you to. The best for me is what Christ calls me to. For some, it is marriage and family; for some, it is single lay life; for some, it is priestly ministry; for some, it is religious life.

Wherever we find ourselves, we are called to be witnesses. I don’t know about you, but I am not at all sure whether I am a witness to Jesus. But, I am hopeful and so I will keep “giving it a go.” What I mean is that I will keep trying to “receive” and keep trying to “give.”

Let’s take a few minutes, out of our busy day, to meditate on where the Lord is calling us and what he is asking us to do. I have italicised a few words and phrases in the text of the Gospel that may help you pray:

The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him, in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself was to visit. He said to them, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.

Start off now, but remember, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road. Whatever house you go into, let your first words be, “Peace to this house!” And if a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him; if not, it will come back to you.

Stay in the same house, taking what food and drink they have to offer, for the labourer deserves his wages; do not move from house to house.

Whenever you go into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is set before you. Cure those in it who are sick, and say, “The kingdom of God is very near to you.”

But whenever you enter a town and they do not make you welcome, go out into its streets and say, “We wipe off the very dust of your town that clings to our feet, and leave it with you.

Yet be sure of this: the kingdom of God is very near.” I tell you, on that day it will not go as hard with Sodom as with that town’ (Luke 10:1-12).


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