Gospel Reflection-- God's Campaign Trail!
How can we promote Jesus’ message in a society that tries to confine Christianity to a Sunday afternoon TV Slot? How do we promote Jesus' teachings of unity and sharing in a world of division and materialism? How do we campaign for peace and love in a world hampered by indifference and injustice?
We might feel small in face of impacting our beliefs on an unbelieving world. That we feel small perhaps helps us to understand the task the early disciples faced in Luke’s Gospel. The scene set in today’s gospel must have looked something like a biblical ‘campaign trail’. Jesus sent seventy-two disciples ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit to prepare the way. Jesus knew that they were up against the odds. He describes them as lambs among wolves. “The harvest is abundant,” he says, “but the labourers are few.” More credit then, to those early disciples that the Christian message has survived for over two thousand years. What can we learn from their obvious success?
Jesus gave his early disciples some important practical advice. His first words of advice were for us to travel light. How can we concentrate on impacting Jesus’ will if we are burdened with other concerns? Having a clear and focussed mind is crucial to any kind of success. Next Jesus advocates relying on hospitality and walking away from opposition. Perhaps today we would call it ‘knowing one’s audience’. In a nutshell, Jesus is asking us to focus on the job in hand, avoid distraction, and not to be deterred by opposition or setbacks.
God’s message needs ‘selling’ just as much now as it did two thousand years ago. Two thousand years later, our world still needs a lot of 'fixing'. The job to be done might seem impossible, but we take encouragement from those few early disciples and the scale of their obvious success. To give up on the job would be to negate the work of those who have gone before us. If we care at all about the work our predecessors have put in, it's our turn to take to God's campaign trail.