Laura K. Roland ponders our Gospel call to share the Good News in an unrepentant world.
At Jesus’ urging the seventy-two go out in pairs, giving them the words to speak and to share with all whom they will encounter. He also gives them very clear instructions on what to do if they are not well received. In this Gospel reading, Jesus then describes what will happen to those who reject the message. “Woe to you…”
The seventy-two deliver both the good news (repent and receive the kingdom of God) and the bad news (reject God and receive the netherworld) urgently (Luke 10:13-16).
It’s the word woe that gets me every time. Deep suffering from misfortune, affliction, grief. Ruinous trouble. Distress. It is the antithesis of what a life lived rooted in the hope of the Gospel looks like.
I’d like to think I would have received these followers of Jesus well, heard their message of hope and love, repented, and then followed them to Jesus. But I have the glorious gift of hindsight. I know how the story ends. So it’s easy for me to believe and to want to live rooted in the hope of the Gospel.
But what if I didn’t have that hindsight? What if the seventy-two were going door to door today with a message that was so counter-cultural it was frightening and breathtaking all at the same time? Would I hear them out and be moved by the truth, enough so that I repented, gave up all that this world tells me I should believe in and followed Him?
Or would I stay locked in place, where the world tells me I’m better off, rejecting the one who sent them? Living in our own unrepentant towns, as followers of Christ, we are called to be the seventy-two today. Our mission is the same: share the news.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the powerful witness of the seventy-two who were sent by Jesus to bring the good news to all. I pray for the strength and courage to do the same in my own unrepentant town.
Copyright 2022 Laura K. Roland
About the Author
Laura K. Roland is a cradle Catholic. She and her husband of 31+ years have 3 children and have recently added a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law to their ever-growing family. A former Catholic educator, she co-founded the women’s ministry Encounter Grace in 2018 and is a speaker, writer, mentor, and host of the new podcast, Short Story Longer.