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Daily Gospel Reading - January 26, 2010 PDF Print E-mail

Mark 3:31-35
[or Luke 10:1-9]

The Mission of the seventy[-Two]

1The Lord appointed seventy[-two] others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. 2He 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. 3Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. 4Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. 5Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ 6If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. 7Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another. 8Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, 9cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’ ”

The Lord Appointed Seventy[-Two]

“Seventy[-two]” reveals two variant readings from important text types. While important manuscripts read “seventy,” other equally important have “seventy-two.”
Jesus has already sent the Twelve (apostles) with power and authority to proclaim the good news from village to village in Israel (Lk 9:1-6). Now he sends seventy [two] others. The number is to be understood symbolically, just like the number twelve. The Twelve represents the reconstitution of the twelve tribes of Israel. The Seventy may allude to the “seventy elders” who accompany Moses up to the holy mountain of God (Ex 24:1). They share in God’s Spirit and are enabled to prophesy (Nm 11:24-25). Thus they are disciples who are also empowered to share the mission of the Twelve. Or “seventy” may represent the seventy Gentile nations of the world, founded by the sons of Noah after the flood (Gn 10). Thus, just as the Twelve (apostles) represent the Jewish foundation of the Church, the Seventy (disciples) stand for the Gentile foundation.

The gospel pericope about the mission of the seventy [-two] anticipates the labors of missionaries, other than the Apostles, in the Acts of the Apostles. In particular, they refer to partners in mission of the Apostle Paul: Timothy and Titus—whose feast we are celebrating today—Barnabas, Luke (the author of the third Gospel and Acts), Priscilla and Aquila, Lydia, Chloe, etc. Following the feast of the conversion of the great apostle to the Gentiles, the celebration of his close collaborators shows us Paul’s precious heritage: not only those whom he brought to Christ and his letters, but also his disciples and co-workers in the Gospel.

Daily Gospel Reading - January 25, 2010 PDF Print E-mail

Mk 16:15-18


The Commissioning of the Eleven

15[Jesus appeared to the Eleven and] said to them: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. 18They will pick up serpents [with their hands], and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Proclaim the Gospel

The word “gospel” comes from the Greek evangelion—good information, good news. In classical Greek, it meant the joyful news itself, or the offering to the gods in thanksgiving for good news. It also meant the announcement of victory or of other propitious events. In the context of the cult of the Roman emperors, the birthday of Caesar, his enthronement, his deeds were “good news” for the subjects of the Roman empire.

Good news had a religious meaning in the Hebrew Bible, especially in the texts of Isaiah. With Cyrus’ edict permitting the exiled Jews in Babylon to return to Jerusalem, the sentinel seeing caravans of returnees was called “herald of good tidings” (Is 40:9).

In the Gospel, Jesus portrays his mission as “the announcement of good news to the poor” (Lk 4:18). For this reason, “gospel” would mean the announcement of the joyful news of God’s definitive intervention through Jesus Christ. The “gospel of Christ” means the joyful news brought by Jesus and promulgated by him, and then the salvation achieved through him. With the coming of the gospel as a literary form, “gospel” would also refer to the works of the evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

In the great commissioning in today’s Gospel, the apostles are commanded to preach the gospel to the whole world. The apostles are to announce what they have seen and heard from their Master, but also the deeper meaning of his person especially in the light of the paschal mystery.

The Apostle Paul, whose conversion we celebrate today, centers his gospel on the meaning of Jesus’ cross, his Paschal Mystery which encompasses the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. For Paul, the good news is God’s totally undeserved grace of sending his Son to save us from our sins. The cross may be a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks, but to the believers Christ Crucified is the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:23-24).

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