Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
Today’s Gospel is striking. In it, Jesus asks us to pray for new laborers for the harvest, bluntly pointing out how radical these new disciples must be to be truly His. Now, a small yet decisive note comes first: “After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go.” The disciples are sent “ahead” of Jesus to prepare His way. They are the ones who anticipate His coming.
The true calling of a Christian is to prepare the way for Christ – not to replace Him. A true friendship, a true love, the lending of a helping hand, caring for those in need, are nothing but preparatory gestures for the coming of God in people’s lives. We are only asked to do our part by living well – that is, by making our relationships worth having. If a father is a good father, he will eventually help his son understand God’s own fatherhood. If a mother is a good mother, she will eventually help her son understand God’s mercy. If a friend is a true friend, he eventually helps his friends understand God’s nearness. If you gratuitously love someone, that someone will one day understand God’s grace. The list goes on ad infinitum.
This is what a disciple is called to do: to prepare Jesus’s coming into someone’s life by creating genuine human experiences. We are human beings who require human references to understand things. Even God is understandable to us only through human reference. It is no accident that God became man in Jesus. If we Christians are unable to provide our loved ones with genuine human experiences, we keep them from meeting Jesus. He will simply become incomprehensible to them.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.