by Fr Joseph Mafola
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In today’s Gospel, Jesus sends seventy two disciples to go ahead of him in pairs to all the places He Himself was to visit. The seventy two came back rejoicing because even the devils submitted to them when they used Jesus’ name. The seventy two stand for us, the Christian community. We must be God’s messengers to everyone around us. The joy of the Christian life will increase within us to the extent to which we share our faith with others.
St Paul explains to us what it really means to be a Christian. He says to be a Christian means to have become altogether a new creature. On account of the life in the Spirit given to us in Baptism. A Christian maintains and increases the life in the Spirit within him/herself. To be a Christian means to belong to Christ. In his letter to the Galatians 6:17 St Paul says “the marks of my body are those of Jesus.”
Christ had specially marked him with his own sign: the sign of his cross; a sign of glory and of true freedom not of shame or slavery. Jesus saved us through the cross and Christians should show who their master is by embracing their own cross. St Paul wishes peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, to all who keep faithful to Christ (Gal 6:16).
He is a Christian who maintains vigorously the life in the Spirit in his own heart, who sides with Christ decidedly, no matter the cost and who deeply shares Christ peace and joy.
Again in the Gospel Jesus calls us to spread the Good News, to prepare for him the way, into the hearts of people. This is the duty imposed on us all on receiving the sacrament of Baptism and Confirmation. Our Church is missionary. God wants our Christian community to be at all times a missionary community only by leading others to Christ shall we receive the joy and enthusiasm.
We do not necessarily have to go to foreign countries to preach the Gospel. The people around us are a field vast enough for us to evangelise. We are called to evangelise each other within the Christian community. Parents are called to evangelise their children, and children their parents, husbands their respective wives and wives their respective husbands. Brothers, sisters, relatives are called evangelise each other.
We must evangelise our non-Catholic brethren some belong to our family, we live side by side. Christ urges us to be concerned at all times about the salvation of everyone around us. We will lead them to Christ by our genuine Christian life. We must strive to know our faith better every day so as to be in a position to provide anyone with a ready and courteous answer.
In Luke 10:4 Jesus wants us not to put our trust in human means. Jesus want us to be messengers of peace and love. Christ’s messengers must be peace givers and peace makers at all times. We cannot share peace unless the peace of Christ reigns within us and among the members of the Christian community.
The seventy two disciples came back to Jesus beaming with joy at the thought that the evil spirits had submitted when commanded in his name to set people free from their dominion. For us bringing people to Christ increases within us the joy of belonging to him. Jesus will see to it that those who strive to set people free from the slavery of the devil will in-turn be given all the strength they need to overcome the devil in times of temptation.
There is no danger of Jesus missing the name of anyone who leads people to him. Let us strive to bring people as we can and shall experience, multiplied a hundred fold the joy of our earthly day as Christians.
In heaven the joy of being Christian will fill our hearts to overflowing, we shall belong to Christ and what is more Christ will belong to us forever!
AKADVUNYISWE JESU KRISTO!