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Gospel for Sunday, July 3 Luke 10: 1-20

XIV Sunday C

1After these events, the Lord appointed seventy-two other disciples and sent them two by two ahead of Himself to every city and place where He was about to go. 2He said to them: “The harvest is great, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray to the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. 3Go: behold I send you as lambs in the midst of wolves; 4Do not carry bag, saddlebag or sandals and do not greet anyone along the way. 5Whatever house you enter, first say, Peace to this house. 6If there is a son of peace, your peace will descend upon him, otherwise it will return to you. 7Stay in that house, eating and drinking of what they have, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not pass from house to house. 8When you enter a city and they welcome you, eat what is put before you, 9Heal the sick who are there, and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near to you. 10The But when you enter a city and they do not welcome you, go out into the squares and say: 11Even the dust of your city that has clung to our feet, we shake it against you; but know that the kingdom of God is near. 12I tell you that in that day Sòdoma will be treated less harshly than that city. 13Woe to you, Chorazin, woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles wrought among you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, long ago they would have been converted by clothing themselves in sackcloth and covering themselves with ashes. 14Therefore in the judgment Tyre and Sidon will be treated less harshly than you. 15And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to heaven? Down to the underworld shall you be precipitated! 16He who listens to you listens to me; he who despises you despises me. And whoever despises me despises the one who sent me”. 17The seventy-two returned full of joy, saying: “Lord, even the demons are submitting to us in your name.” 18He said: “I saw Satan falling from heaven like the thunderbolt. 19Behold, I have given you power to walk over serpents and scorpions and over every power of the enemy; nothing can harm you. 20Rejoice not, however, because the demons submit to you; rejoice rather that your names are written in the heavens”.

Luke 10: 1-20

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

When reading the Bible, one must remember that in it all numbers have not so much an objective value as a symbolic one. The Book of Genesis, in chapter ten (Gen. 10:1-32), presents the “Table of Nations,” that is, the list of the Peoples created by God. All the progenitors of the nations are numbered 70, the perfect multiple of 7, sacred par excellence (7 x 10).

The Greek translation of the Bible, the one called the LXX, speaks instead of the creation of 72 peoples. In any case, “it was the Greek Bible that Luke, when writing his Gospel, had at his disposal” (O. Da Spinetoli): that Bible which states that the peoples created by God are 72. That is why Luke writes, “After these things the Lord appointed seventy-two more disciples and sent them two by two ahead of him to every city and place where he was about to go” (Luke 10:1).

Actually, the Elders of Israel upon whom the Spirit of God descends are also 72, because to the 70 Elders gathered in the Tent of Meeting must be added Eldad and Medad, who had remained in the camp (Nm 11:25-26), as the Zohar, the most important book in the Kabbalistic tradition, will always point out. Note that the number 72 also corresponds to the name of God (IHWH) according to gematria, the Jewish theological science that gives a numerical value to each letter (as is also the case in the Latin world, where numbers were represented by letters): the sum of the values of the individual letters gives a number that in turn defines a person or a thing.

Thus the number 72 is both a symbol of universality and recalls the Holy Name of God Himself. The disciples are thus sent, according to Jewish symbolism, to evangelize all nations. “Beyond the question of whether it is 70 or 72, the meaning is clear: the Word given to Israel is to reach all God’s children, all peoples. And 72 (the peoples) plus 12 (the tribes of Israel) make 84, that is 7 times 12: the totality (7) of men are God’s people (12)!” (S. Fausti).

Even a simple numerical value, for those who delve into Holy Scripture with love and passion, can unlock wonderful revelations…

“Jesus glimpses the abundant harvest, the fields that are blonding, but notes the scarcity of the laborers who will have to reap. It was so in Jesus’ time, it has been so throughout the history of the Church, it is so today too…! The call of a missionary happens because of the prayer of the Church, mission must always spring from prayer (Lk 6:12-13), the work of the harvest must be done in prayer” (E. Bianchi).

Jesus sends the disciples two by two, so that they may live first of all in communion and be support for one another: mission is the action of the whole Church, not of individuals. The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council reaffirmed, “The pilgrim Church is by its very nature missionary” (Ad gentes, no. 2); and invited “each community… to widen the vast web of its charity to the ends of the earth, showing the same solicitude for those who are far away as it does for those who are its own members.”

Jesus is the model of the apostle who does not live a solitary life, like the ancient prophets: he lives in community, and for community life he asked his own to abandon home, family, wife (Mk 10:28-31). He sends his disciples two by two not only to give a valid testimony according to Jewish law (Deut. 19:15), but precisely to set an example of fraternal life. We are not called to a private faith, nor to an individual witness. This is why in the Gospel and Acts we often see presented “famous” pairs of disciples, a sign of a practice of sharing life and proclamation: Peter and John, John and Andrew, Cleopas and the other disciple, Barnabas and Paul, Judas and Silas, Barnabas and Mark, Paul and Silas, Andronicus and Junia… Announcing the One who is Love (1 Jn. 4:8), the Church will first of all have to be a visible sign of him: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn. 13:35).

In addition to common life in agape, the call for the church is to radical poverty (Lk 10:4). The essence of “being with him” (Mk. 3:14) is to be poor like him (Lk. 8:58): faith is to place our security in God alone, it is to rely on him alone, like the birds of the air and the lilies of the field (Mt. 6:25-35), it is to live by him alone.

Poverty is a true and indispensable sacrament, that is, an effective sign of faith in God. Without poverty there is no faith, except in words (Acts 3:4-6). The disciples are not to take even bread with them (Mk 6:8): indeed, they have “with them in the boat the one bread” (Mk 8:14), Jesus Christ himself! To the believer, God is enough: the mission is to witness to this with one’s life.

Pope Francis concludes, “The Gospel says that those seventy-two returned from their mission full of joy, because they had experienced the power of Christ’s Name against evil. Jesus confirms this: to these disciples He gives the power to defeat the evil one. But he adds, “Do not rejoice, however, because the demons submit to you; rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). We should not boast as if we were the protagonists: protagonist is one, it is the Lord! The protagonist is the Lord’s grace! He is the only protagonist! And our joy is only this: to be his disciples, his friends.”

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at


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