SUNDAY 18 OCTOBER 2020 LUKE 10: 16-21

For a better understanding of today’s Gospel we need to read the verses that preceded this passage, where the Lord sends the seventy disciples to visit every city and place, where He was supposed to follow later, in order to proclaim His coming and prepare the people for the announcement of the coming of the Kingdom of God. This number of seventy corresponds to the seventy Elders whom Moses, after god’s orders, chose as his assistants. This may point out to the fact that the events that are registered in the Old Testament prefigure somehow those of the New Testament.

   He sent them in pairs, because according to the book of Deuteronomy (19:15), two witnesses are required for a testimony or a teaching to stand trustworthy before a third party. Also, to help, support and encourage each other. Moreover, as Jesus states: «For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them» - (Matthew 18: 20), an expression that became the foundation and the essence of the Church, which is the communion of men in Christ.

   Jesus tells them that «he that heareth you heareth Me; and he that despiseth you despiseth Me, and the Father that sent Me» This verse indicates that the messenger has the same authority as the sender. While He was still on earth, Jesus the Son and Word of God gave His disciples and especially after the Pentecost and the gift of the Holy Spirit, the command and the ministry to preach the Gospel of truth and salvation throughout the world. And the testimony of the Holy Apostles to the world is so great and important since it comes from the teaching of Jesus Himself. So, heeding their words and abiding by them is identified as obedience to God Himself.

   When the disciples returned from their mission, they expressed their joy to the Lord because the demons were cast out in His name. With the proclamation of the coming of the Kingdom of God, Satan and his kingdom were destroyed. Christ, however, urges the seventy not to rejoice because they perform miracles and cast out demons by the grace of God, but to rejoice more since their names are written in the book of life. And why is He telling them this? Because the gift of the miraculous intervention and the «authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy» is not our personal achievement, but a gift given by God Himself. If we do not make it clear and understand this within ourselves, then any of our virtues is the result of our selfishness and pride and not the fruit of our relationship with God, with the outcome that we will eventually fall and crumble like Lucifer: «How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north» - (Is. 14: 12-13) and for this same reason Paul warns Timothy and says: «lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil» - (1 Tim 3: 6)

   Add to this that the registry of our names in the book of life is the result of our faith in Jesus Christ. The belief that He is the Son of God, who took our flesh, and was crucified and resurrected for the salvation of the world. It is this faith that saves us, that enrolls us in the book of life and that gives us the strength to rise up from our falls and move forward with a striking force that we draw from God Himself. It is this faith that ultimately accomplishes every miracle in our lives, however big or small and brings us day after day closer to our salvation, from letting go of our personal sins to the Resurrection, and finally, it makes us heavenly citizens and members of the triumphant Church. Moreover, the purpose of the Evangelist Luke is to show, through his two written works, the Gospel and the Acts, that the faith in Christ results in «To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me» - (Acts 26: 18)

   Then we see Jesus giving thanks to God the Father, because He revealed the Truth not to the wise, but to the «infants», who are simple and ordinary people. This contradiction between the wisdom of men and the wisdom of God should not surprise us. Because we do not approach God with our mind, but with our heart. God takes off and hides away from the proud and reveals Himself to the humble. Because the knowledge of God is not an achievement of man, but a gift, a kindness and a revelation of God to man who thirsts for the water of Life. Because in the end God is not discovered, but He reveals Himself to man who humbly acknowledges his personal weakness. In order to live the truth of the Gospel and make it our way of life, we must have the simplicity and the fervor of the heart. With humility and sincerity at our disposal we get to know Him. He reveals Himself in our lives to lead us to salvation, to His Heavenly Kingdom. Amen!