(Job 19:21-27; Luke 10:1-12)
St. Therese of Lisieux has been named co-patron of the missions although she never set foot in a “mission land.” More important than travelling to Africa or China, however, Therese had the soul of a missionary. She loved Christ and wanted to win souls for him. As a young teen, she prayed in front of an image of Christ crucified: “I wanted to give my Beloved to drink, and I felt myself consumed with a thirst for souls."
In today’s gospel Jesus sends seventy-two disciples with a similar “thirst for souls.” They are to proclaim the Kingdom of God with both healings and words. Their number is significant. It represents, according to Genesis, the number of nations on earth. They will demonstrate the love which they preach. Taking nothing with them, they will show how God provides for those who love Him.
Most of us do not see ourselves as missionaries. We may say that we have enough to do seeing our own way to eternal life. Nevertheless, the Lord sends us out to others. Like Therese our mission field may be very limited – our families or work associates. Through our peace, joy, and care, we are to relay to them God’s love.