Recently, the gospel for the Mass of the day was taken from Luke 10:1-12. You might recognize this famous line: “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few.” One word from this passage really struck me and I pondered it as the day progressed: Other.
Luke tells us that Jesus appoints 72 other disciples to go ahead of Him. We get a good bit of details about how they are supposed to travel (light) and what they are to do when they get where they are going (extend peace). What we don’t know is who are these Others? Where did these men and women come from, how did they become the other disciples, and how did the famous disciples respond to these others?
The other disciples must have been part of the nameless, faceless crowds that followed Jesus, witnessed His miracles, heard Him teach, and experienced His love first hand. Seventy-Two obscure people whose names we will never know played a vital part in Jesus’s mission. These others who stepped up when asked. These women and men who volunteered to leave their comfort zone to share the love of Jesus and prepare towns and villages for His arrival.
Interestingly, Jesus sent these “Others” out in pairs so that they would not be alone.
Do you sometimes feel like one of the nameless, faceless disciples that is toiling in the vineyard trying to prepare people to receive the love of Christ?
Whether your vineyard is in an office or a kitchen, whether it is in the carpool in Connecticut or a bus stop in Africa, whether it is in the line at Starbucks or a soup kitchen— know that you are never nameless and faceless to Jesus. While these other disciples do not have cathedrals named after them, their willingness to be anonymous in the eyes of the world allowed Jesus to reach the hearts and lives of countless people including you.
I recently heard a priest say, “I cannot convert a flea!”
These others did not convert the towns, but their work was not in vain. We must remember that it is God that takes care of the conversions of heart and mind. But, He needs for us to prepare the way and love others so that their hearts are open and receptive to the message when it arrives.
So, find your discipleship partner and ask God to show you where He wants for y’all to share His peace. We don’t have to go far afield to discover the next person who needs a hug, a smile, or an encouraging word. Each of these can be transformed by the Holy Spirit into a healing encounter.