Father Linus Clovis: two by two
(The Gospel According to Saint Luke, 10:1-9)
Our Blessed Lord came into the world to save sinners. He came not only for the children of Abraham but also for the whole human race; Jew as well as Gentile.
He chose twelve apostles to continue his work. These twelve we know and are familiar with. Initially, he sent them out throughout Galilee to those towns and villages he himself would visit. And the message was always the same: repent, believe the good news, the Kingdom of God is close at hand.
But as he begins to expand his ministry–and he’s doing this because, having preached in Galilee, he’s now going into Judea–he chooses, as we just heard, seventy-two others. And he sent them out in pairs to proclaim the news that the Kingdom of God is close at hand.
And this message is not just for 2000 years ago, but it is a message that is valid until Our Blessed Lord returns; The Kingdom of God is close at hand. And therefore, we ought to hear the good news, we ought to believe the good news, and putting good news into action, repent of our sins.
Why did Our Lord choose seventy-two? Again, it ties in with the Old Covenant, and in fact, the way that God has shown himself to operate. If we start off with these seventy-two, we know that Moses was instructed to choose heads for each of the twelve tribes of Israel so each tribe had a leader; a prince.
Moses was the one who judged the problems that the people would have as they left Egypt, and as they made their way to the Promised Land. And as Jethro his father-in-law noted, this was a burden too much for him. He couldn’t possibly do it. And therefore, Jethro suggested that he should choose others to assist him in this task, which he did; he chose six men for each of the twelve tribes. So, there were seventy-two elders assisting Moses.
So, here we have something similar where Our Lord has the Apostles, who we would say are the heads, and then to each apostle is attributed six disciples. These disciples are not deacons, they are assistants to the Apostles. And so, the Fathers of the Church have have always regarded the bishops to be the successors of the Apostles, but the priesthood are the succeeds to the seventy-two others.
So, they are chosen, and we’re told he sent them out in pairs.
It’s also interesting that, when the people of Israel under Moses left Egypt, they made their way to a place called Elim, and there they found twelve fountains and also seventy-two palm trees. And the palm trees, of course, grow very close to the fountains. So again, here is another type of the Apostles who are the water that feeds the palm trees; the disciples. Or we can say that the the twelve fountains represent the bishops who are to feed the priesthood (the palm trees) because beneath the palms the people find shade, they find shelter, they find protection.
But what happens when the fountains become foul? Well, we know invariably that the trees themselves die. And so, therefore, we need to ask the Lord. The Lord says, pray to the Lord of harvest. Ask Him to keep the fountains pure, that the doctrine in the fountains is clean, and that we might not be poisoned by false teaching.
So, the disciples go out, two by two. And again, we see that this is the way the Lord operates, the way he functions, for, when we look again at the Old Testament, God did not send Moses by himself, but rather he sent his brother with him, Aaron.
So, there were two who went to Pharaoh, and went to the people of Israel to announce the news that God wished his people to be free. After they had wandered in the desert, making their way to the Promised Land, and they arrived, we find that having sent the spies into the Promised Land, that again, they went out in pairs, that the spies returned, and what did they come with? The majority of them came with bad news: we cannot conquer the land. But there were two, Joshua and Caleb, who said, yes we can, trust in the Lord. Unfortunately, they were out-voted, and the people preferred to listen to the to the bad news, contrary to the to the Word of God.
And so, the punishment was they would wander in the wilderness for the 40 years. Yet it is seen that Joshua and Caleb were the only ones who were allowed to enter into the Promised Land since they believed. And so, likewise for us, let us believe the truth, the Word of God, regardless of who contradicts it, believe the pure Word of God knowing that in this our salvation depends, because God cannot deceive, nor can he be deceived, and so he knows the the sincerity of our heart. So let us believe the Word of God above every human word.
And so, he sends them out. They are to harvest. They’re going to a harvest. The harvest, indeed, is great, and it’s still great today, for as long as there’s one soul that is unredeemed, the harvest is great. The laborers are few, that is: those who will preach The Word with integrity. So, he says, pray therefore, to the Lord of Harvest to send laborers into his harvest. But Our Lord is the Lord of the Harvest, so what does he mean, “pray to the Lord of the Harvest?” He’s telling us that we need to ask him. It is his harvest, and so he himself would know. For Him, it is not a matter of numbers, but rather a matter of those who are sincere and those who truly wish to be associates of Him in the redemption of the world.
And we find such amazing persons like this as Saint Paul, who traveled to the furthest ends of the earth just to to bring the good news to all, who wrote extensively, who poured out his heart because the Gospel was not being lived as it should be, that Christ was not known.
But what else does the Lord say? He says, “Go, behold, I send you as lambs among wolves”. And this surely must have troubled them. What chance does a lamb have against the wolf? Yet this is exactly what we find happening to us today.
The victory of the Gospel does not depend on us. It depends on Christ. He’s the very source of its power. But what he does, which is, those who proclaim the Gospel imitate him, he who is the Lamb of God. For he is the lamb who came, and, indeed, he fought not only the wolf but the dragon and even though he was slain yet he rose, having slain the one who slew him. And so he tells us, I’m sending you out as lambs among wolves. Therefore, we ought to remain lambs, innocent, inoffensive, victims; this is what he requires. For the conquest of the world is not by force of arms but rather by sacrifice. And so those who preach the Gospel should go forth as lambs ready for the slaughter.
And we see this on so many occasions, in the great apostles, such as St. Boniface or Saint Francis Xavier, who went out, ready, eager to be sacrificed; Saint Peter Chanel, who indeed was sacrificed, and even as he was killed, within five years, the conversions that he had labored so much for and he did not see, materialized; the conversions of the islands occurred after his death because he was truly a lamb among wolves.
The Lord says, in this case, if we are to be ready for the slaughter then do not make provision and therefore, carry neither person or bag script or shoes and salute no one on the road. Again, going back to the Old Testament, we remember Gehazi, who was sent by Elisha to heal, to resurrect the son of the widow, and he said get on with it – salute, greet nobody along the way. In other words, those who preach the Gospel should not be distracted by anything, and they should make no provisions for the task entrusted to them because there is a sense of urgency in this. The urgency is the salvation of souls.
And then he says be satisfied with what is provided, for the laborer deserves his wages. So, wherever you stay, remain there. When you enter into any house, your first words be, peace be to this house, and peace is the greatest of all gifts because where there is peace, then all good things dwell, as well. And, of course, the first and most important peace is our peace with God. Then comes peace with ourselves, and from this rose peace of our neighbor, because, if we’re alienated from God, there can be no peace–as we well see in our world. In fact, wherever the power of God is denied, we see strife and war and all the other things of which Saint James speaks. But if there is peace, then we can be certain that it is the peace of Christ. And the Lord says, even if there is no peace do not fret because it will return to you. So, it will be a blessing even for those who wish peace.
And then he says, lastly, when whatever city you enter and where they receive you, eat what is set before you, heal the sick therein, and say to them, the Kingdom of God is nigh unto you.
So, the first thing is then the miracles, for these will convince those who are skeptical; those who are unbelieving. And again, when we look at the history of this Church and of the Saints, we find that the apostles of nations; God had always granted to them the gift of miracles by which they were indeed able to preach the truth of the Gospel. And, even if no miracles are worked, yet we can be certain that where the heart is open, where the soil is fertile, the Word of God can never be lost but in fact will bear fruit, and abundant fruit.
And then, today being the First Saturday, we recall Our Blessed Lady, the Queen of Apostles, who came into our world in 1917 to warn us of the dangers; that to which we are exposed. And, in coming, she reminded us of the last things; heaven and hell, she also spoke, of course of death and judgment; for these are necessarily included once we speak of heaven and hell.
Today our world scorns the idea that hell exists, but Our Lady showed the children that indeed it did exist, and it was a terrible place, and that she had come to save people from going to that place. And the children were so moved by it that they sacrificed themselves for sinners. Our Lady asked for the consecration of Russia, promising that peace would be given to the world because Russia would be converted, warning also that if Russia were not converted, it would spread its errors throughout the world.
Sadly, the Word of God delivered by the Virgin, the Mother of God, was not believed nor acted upon because human wisdom thought itself far wiser than God’s foolishness. And so, we have seen to what dire straits we have been brought. We see all around us increasing anarchy, we see the Faith itself being mocked, we see the apostasy of even bishops and priests. We hear heresies daily preached and declared. The Catholic Faith is scorned, and even the Mother of God is insulted.
Amidst all of these blasphemies, all we can do, who do believe, is to beg God for mercy knowing that he desires and wants our salvation.
So, with faith in the words delivered by the Virgin from the Son, let us consecrate ourselves once more to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for as she herself said, it is never too late to turn to the compassionate hearts of Jesus and Mary.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.
Video courtesy of Family Life International, transcript provided by WQPH