Christ comes to His people through His disciples
Jesus sent out seventy-two disciples on a mission. In this way the Lord stresses that the proclamation of the Kingdom of God is not exclusively reserved to the Twelve. The role of the Twelve was very clear and the missionary option of everyone was well established. In the Acts of the Apostles we read the extraordinary testimony of Deacon Stephen. His martyrdom strengthened the faith, hope and love of many. Amongst Christians in the early Church, there is a layman, Ananias. His amazing care and healing ministry, courage, openness and attentiveness to the prompts of the Holy Spirit is well known. Just to remind us, Ananias was sent by Jesus to restore the sight of “Saul, of Tarsus”, embrace him by the Church and provide him with additional instruction in the way of the Lord.
The mission of the seventy-two disciples was related to the number of the sent people. The number of the pagan nations known to the Jewish people at that time was 72. In this light we see that the Gospel is addressed to people of all cultures, languages and nations, without exception. They were sent in 36 couples, because according to the Law of Moses, the truth must be certified by at least two witnesses. They were sent like sheep among wolves. In this way, they were sure that safety, shelter, security is found in Christ, the only one Lord and Shepherd. Other sources of security are not sufficient. Every time the disciples were entering houses they were to say: “Peace to this house!” because only Jesus is the source of true peace in the life of every family. At last is the climax of the mission which is the proclamation of the kingdom of God “here and now”. It is important that disciples did not share stories of how to live, but announced His Presence: the Presence of the Living Christ amongst the people. As we see it, it is the direct wish of Christ who sent the missionaries to help Him to touch His people, to make Him present. They are to act in His name.