The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter,
first say, ‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’”
Christ wants to instill apostolic daring into his disciples; this is why he says, “I send you out”, which leads St John Chrysostom to comment: “This suffices to give us encouragement, to give us confidence and to ensure that we are not afraid of our assailants” (Hom. on St Matthew, 33). The apostles’ and disciples’ boldness stemmed from their firm conviction that they were on a God-given mission: they acted, as Peter the apostle confidently explained to the Sanhedrin, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, “for there is no other name under heaven … by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Apostolate calls for generous self-surrender which leads to detachment; therefore, Peter, following our Lord’s commandment, when the beggar at the Beautiful Gate asked him for alms (Acts 3:2–3), said, “I have no silver or gold” (ibid., 3:6), “not so as to glory in his poverty”, St Ambrose points out, “but to obey the Lord’s command. It is as if he were saying, ‘You see in me a disciple of Christ, and you ask me for gold? He gave us something much more valuable than gold, the power to act in his name. I do not have what Christ did not give me, but I do have what he did give me: In the name of Jesus Christ, arise and walk’ (cf. Acts 3:6)” (Expositio Evangelii sec. Lucam, in loc.). Apostolate, therefore, demands detachment from material things and it also requires us to be always available, for there is an urgency about apostolic work.
“And salute no one on the road”: “How can it be”, St Ambrose asks himself, “that the Lord wishes to get rid of a custom so full of kindness? Notice, however, that he does not just say, ‘Do not salute anyone’, but adds, ‘on the road.’ And there is a reason for this.
“He also commanded Elisha not to salute anyone he met, when he sent him to lay his staff on the body of the dead child (2 Kings 4:29): he gave him this order so as to get him to do this task without delay and effect the raising of the child, and not waste time by stopping to talk to any passer-by he met. Therefore, there is no question of omitting the good manners to greet others; it is a matter of removing a possible obstacle in the way of service; when God commands, human considerations should be set aside, at least for the time being. To greet a person is a good thing, but it is better to carry out a divine instruction which could easily be frustrated by a delay”
“behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves”
I believe a great many of us are challenged to accept this reality of our baptismal call – to go forth and spread the Good News – precisely because we fear the wolves that are out in the “real world.” It is far easier to stay in our comfortable world, within the confines of the known, the safe bastions of our churches. We conjure up all kinds of reasons for not heading the call, much like Moses and prophets of old. We say to God “not me, for I am unable to do this” instead of saying, “take me God, for you are with me always.” How big is the God we serve, that we doubt he will provide us with all that we need? Hasn’t he shown he faithfulness to us in so many ways? How much to we really trust God?
May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.
 Saint Luke’s Gospel, The Navarre Bible (Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers, 2005), 105–106.