Lambs among wolves
A highly educated and fluid author, St. Luke has his feast day on October 18. He also wrote the Acts of the Apostles, the history of the early Church and played up leaders, like St. Paul, who spread the faith. He empathised with the lowest on the social ladder; the Christ of Luke was the Messiah of the underclass. We can assume part of that outlook was rooted in the Church’s missionary efforts and the reading this week from Luke 10:1-9 does record how Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples and sent them out to evangelise ahead of Him. Remember His famous line that “the harvest is rich but the labourers are few”
The Lord warned that he was sending them out “like lambs among wolves”. Danger lurked for travelling missionaries so going in pairs gave some safety. Jesus included other instructions to ensure success and safety and to provide focus for missionaries. First, they were to travel light and quick, carrying no purse or haversack, depending totally upon the hospitality of strangers. Next, they were to greet a host family in such a way that their mission would be clearly communicated; their greeting would identify them as messengers of God’s Kingdom and His Messiah. Third, they were to remain with one family in an area and eat with them as honoured guests. If they went from family to family, their movement might distract from their mission (families would compete for the honour of hosting distinguished strangers, instead of listening to the message) and cause scandal (people might infer the missionaries were shopping for the best deal). Finally, they were to eat what was presented to them, no matter where they travelled. These instructions helped the missionaries concentrate on the work before them.
Luke was a true Evangelist. He wrote so others would believe. We can also infer he travelled along with Paul on missionary efforts (Acts 16:11, for example). He lived what he wrote. Let us reflect this week on his literary gifts to the Church and his personal efforts to spread the Good News.
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