The Gospel reading from the Mass for Thursday of the 26th Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 10:1-12.

Having sent out His 12 Apostles on a similar mission (Luke 9:1-6), Christ commissions an expanded group of 70 disciples on a second wave of evangelization.  Christ’s decision to send 70 is prophetic: Moses appointed 70 elders (Num 11:24-25); Genesis describes the all the ancient world as 70 nations (Gen 10) which Christ will later command to be evangelized (Matt 24:47).

Christ confidently directs His 70 men with precise instructions: He warns of attacks on evangelists (the wolves) and that people and whole cities will reject the Gospel, resulting in their doom (v. 12; see also v. 13-16); He tells disciples to go in poverty (no purse, bag, sandals) and to rely on charity, establishing a firm base in each town with one receptive host; He directs them to perform miracles by healing the sick and then to reveal that the Kingdom of God has drawn near to them.

Christ directs His disciples to perform a prophetic act of judgment against those people and villages that reject His Gospel. During that time, Jews would “shake off the dust” of their shoes when leaving pagan lands and entering the Holy Land as a condemnation of pagan uncleanliness; it was both a purity ritual and a public condemnation of pagans. Ominously, Jesus uses the destruction of Sodom for rampant homosexual sin as an warning of the punishment that will come to those who reject the Gospel.

Awed by Jesus ChristPerson of the Trinity, the Son of God establishes and perfects models (i.e. “70”) in Salvation History; Christ has personal knowledge of the destruction of Sodom. Almighty King and Lord, Christ grants authority and decisively directs His men to fight for His Kingdom in the Spiritual Combat against Satan; He grants the power to perform miraculous healing; He gives precise and directive instructions as to the mindset and tactics the Apostles are to use.  Divine Judge, Christ warns of the horrific destruction of those who reject the Gospel and reaffirms the destruction of Sodom.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) The Divine King, Christ is the greatest leader of men ever.  Marvel at how Christ not only commands the 70 disciples to act, but provides precise instructions about how to evangelize, guidance that continue to bear fruit today in His worldwide Catholic Church.

2) The poverty, missionary zeal and personal accountability for converting souls the disciples embraced has not taken root in many Catholic priests and lay men. Renew your understanding of the duty to be a Missionary Witness (CCC 2044-2051) and the need for Zeal (CCC 584, 824, 2004, 2750) and pray for Christ to fill you and all Catholic laymen and priests to be filled with missionary zeal.

3) The very recent widespread efforts to normalize homosexual acts is a rejection God and mimics the rebellion and decay of ancient Sodom. Christ, a Person of the Trinity with the Father from the beginning (John 1:1), destroyed Sodom for homosexual acts; Christ explicitly affirms Sodom’s destruction in today’s Gospel. Review the Church’s teaching on Chastity and Homosexuality (CCC 2357-2359) and pray for Christ to deliver all those who battle homosexual attraction and to give you a heart that courageously speaks Christ’s truth with charity.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Luminous Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Holy Eucharist

Virtue of the Day – Fortitude

Corporal Work of Mercy – To shelter the homeless

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To bear wrongs patiently