October 18, 2022 –
St. Luke the Evangelist
“Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.”
While the word “apostle” literally means “one who is sent”, today’s Gospel passage is not about Jesus sending the Twelve. It is about Jesus sending the 72 ahead of Him as what we might call “advance men”. The 72 are to prepare people to receive Jesus. Through this mission, we can relate this Gospel passage to our own lives as disciples, and to the lives of those whom we’re called to serve.
Very few members of the Church serve as successors of the apostles in the role of bishop, but by contrast, every Christian is sent by Jesus to prepare others to receive Him. This fact is often overlooked today. There is a confusion still, so many years after the Second Vatican Council, between the roles of the clergy and laity.
The role of the laity in the Church is largely “outside” the Church, rather than in the sanctuary. The laity are meant by God—designed by God in His design for the Mystical Body of Christ—to carry the fruits of the Church into the wider, secular world. The word “apostolate” is all but obsolete today in referring to the work of the laity, but it needs to be reclaimed, in order to describe the right and responsibility of the laity to engage the “world” with the Good News of Christ.