Return of the seventy [-two] (Luke 10:17-20)


Return of the Seventy-two.

17 The seventy [-two] returned rejoicing, and said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”

18 Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.

19 Behold, I have given you the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you.

20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

When we previously reflected on the mission of the disciples we noticed that when they returned from their mission they still had a lot of growth ahead of them. [See our reflection on The Return of the Twelve & Feeding of the Five Thousand (Luke 9:10-17).]  However, here Jesus tells us quite the opposite: Satan’s rein is over and the disciples’ names are written in heaven.

About two-thousand years ago Jesus returned to the right hand of the Father in heaven, but in a mysterious way He remains present on earth.  That is, He is present in his Word (see The General Instruction of the Roman Missal #29); He is present when two or three are gathered in His name (see Mt 18:20); and He is present in His mystical Body, which is the Church (see Col 1:18,).

While Jesus has been preaching the Gospel, showing us the way, and preparing to go to His Passion, He has also been building the Church.  These seventy [-two] disciples are part of the Church, and yet they represent the entire Church.  Their triumphant mission symbolizes the triumph of the Church.  That is, the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” (see Mt 16:18)

For the past several weeks as we have read the scriptures there has been an abundance of self-examination and self-reproach.  With this kind of introspection and a heart longing to repent and be transformed, it is easy to lose site of the Joy of the Gospel.  It’s easy to forget that this is the Good News.  Well, today’s reading helps us find the joy very readily.  There is cause for great rejoicing.

Our prayerful response can be to thank Jesus for His Salvific work and to Praise God for the great gift of the Church and for His grace in our lives.

Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition© 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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