January 26,

Saint Timothy and Saint Titus, Bishops

The power of the lamb 

After this the Lord appointed seventy (-two) others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ Lk 10,1-5

During the liturgical year we will have the opportunity to ponder, from the Gospel of Matthew, the first mission of the disciples. Today the Church presents such mission from that of Luke, who, in addition to specify that the envoys were seventy-two, puts on the mouth of Jesus a phrase which sums up all the risk, the spirit and the strength of the missionary: “Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves”. In a world where everyone thinks to achieve his goals and to spend as he better believes his received talents, to go to proclaim to the man that the Lord came among us to save us from our selfishness and that he has a completely different plan of life, it would seem madness. From the human point of view it would be absurd to think that a person can accept, all of the sudden, to abandon everything for which he lived and on which he has invested, to embrace shocking ideals and to follow strangers objectives. It would be an unacceptable proposal, it not for the fact that, on the one hand the end result of our projects is terribly disappointing and on the other hand the Lord would not grant abundantly, to the people whom he sends, the power of his Spirit. The misery of the man and the power of the Spirit are the reasons for the success of any missionary adventure. This power, to make it clear that it comes from him and only from him, and to the purpose that it can overcome the forces of the evil, rooted in every human being, must be hidden in the weakness of the lamb. And, if necessary, in his capacity to be immolated, as it happens almost every day in many countries around the world. It was the secret of Jesus to pass from the death on the cross to the triumph of the resurrection and it will be the secret of Paul throughout his mission: “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2Cor 12,10). The weakness of the lamb is the strength of the missionary. When a man is called to proclaim the gospel in the name of the Lord, if at that time he relies on the Holy Spirit, he receives, through grace, the gift of God’s power in the guise of the weakness of the lamb. It happens even today. I will never forget when father Fausto, many years ago, asked me to preach the gospel in his place. “But how can I do – I said – I am stuttering”. “Do not worry – he said – it is  not your problem, it is of the Lord. Trust him”. I went to the microphone and I began to speak with a fluency of speech which since that moment was unknown to me. It is the power of God which lies in the weakness of the lamb.

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