The Mission of the Seventy Two
I have found St. Augustine’s definition of peace as one of the best definition of what peace is all about. He said: “Peace is the serenity of the soul, the tranquillity of the mind, the simplicity of the heart, the bond of love and the union of charity.”
In today’s gospel we hear Jesus sending seventy two of his disciples for a mission. But He said to them: “I am sending you like lambs among wolves,” (v. 3). “Lambs,” are actually symbols of gentleness, meekness and peace. And in the next two verses (vv. 5-6), the word ‘peace’ is mentioned for several times. I am sure that as Christians we should be, above all, men/women of peace, a peacemaker. That is why St. Edmund, the Archbishop of Canterbury about the year 1235 in his Letter written and sent to the clergy of his diocese exhorted: “It is a duty for you, my brethren, to love peace, since God is the author of peace. He has recommended it to us. His wish is that peace shall reign on earth as well as in heaven and from this peace all that is eternal depends.”
Obviously, being a peacemaker is one of the most beautiful aspects of our Christian mission. Not only because, as the 365 Day with the Lord 2007 said, we bring peace to others but because by so doing we earn peace for ourselves and I add, peace of mind.
Duke University, from an unknown source, did a study on “peace of mind.” It said that the factors found to be contributed greatly to emotional and mental stability are:
1) The absence of suspicion and resentment. Nursing a grudge was a major factor in unhappiness.
2) Not living in the past. An unwholesome preoccupation with old mistakes and failures leads to depression.
3) Not wasting time and energy fighting conditions you cannot change. Cooperate with life, instead of trying to run away from it.
4) Force yourself to stay involved with the living world. Resist the temptation to withdraw and become reclusive during periods of emotional stress.
5) Refuse to indulge in self-pity when life hands you a raw deal. Accept the fact that nobody gets through life without some sorrow and misfortune.
6) Cultivate the old-fashioned virtues—love, humor, compassion and loyalty.
7) Do not expect too much of yourself. When there is too wide a gap between self-expectation and your ability to meet the goals you have set, feelings of inadequacy are inevitable.
8) Find something bigger than yourself to believe in. Self-centered egotistical people score lowest in any test for measuring happiness.
“The harvest is rich and the laborers are few…,” Jesus said. And so we have to pray for more missionaries for peace, including ourselves. We pray that we become missionaries to one another. At the end, let us also reflect these words coming from Michael Gott who said “An evangelist is a, nobody who is seeking to tell everybody about somebody who can help change anybody.”