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. Luke 10:1

Today’s Gospel is reminiscence of Moses appointing seventy elders who were given the spirit to enable them to assist him with leading the people of Israel. In today’s Gospel reading Jesus is the new Moses who calls and sends seventy disciples on a mission.

Like the seventy who were sent, the church is called by God and sent on a mission to the nations of the world. All of us who are present at this Mass are invited to share in this mission which requires us to announce “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”

Implicit in the Gospel is a vision of change. The task given to us is to transform our society and bring it in line with the values and character of the kingdom of God. We are charged to proclaim the good news of the kingdom and challenge our society to make the necessary changes in its way of life that are essential for wholesome living. Our task is not easy; it will have its challenges as we endeavour to be faithful to God.

It is not our mission we embark on; it is Jesus’ mission  we embrace and claim as our own. He grants us the privilege of sharing in this mission which is God’s mission. Jesus sums up his mission in his opening sermon:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord (Luke 4:18-19)

Jesus’ mission  can be conceptualised within the context of liberation. Its aim was to set people free from all forms of bondage caused by sin. He sought to set people free and make it possible for them to live what he called in John’s Gospel ‘abundant living.’

If our mission is to be fruitful and liberative it must be relevant to our Barbadian society. It must address the political, economic and social conditions that are sinful and dehumanising. It must speak to those issues that are not in keeping with Christian principles. It must focus on those conditions in our nation that are immoral and breed immorality. What are the issues confronting our society that need the good news of the gospel?  What are the burdens our people need to be released from? What is our mission in a land where people are abused, victimised, down trodden, despised and the like. What is our mission to our nation where our people experience prejudice, discrimination , exploitation and victimization?    We all know the problems facing our nation. We know that all is not well in our nation? Why are we silent? Why are we afraid to call a spade a spade if we are to save our nation from damnation? Why are we not proactive as we witness our nation going on a slippery path? What are we doing as a church and individuals to transform our nation?

One detects that Christians in our land are timid, we are afraid to stand and be counted. We  know that all is not well but most of us are afraid to address the issues of the day. We make excuses as to why we cannot or should not be prophetic- we believe that we say might rock the boat and we prefer to keep the status quo.  At times we have to be prepared to rock the boat if we are to be true to Christ’s mission. In some instances we cannot condemn what is evil because we ourselves are part of the very evils we ought  to denounce.

Our task is by no means easy. Jesus warns us of the dangers and trials that will come if we take our mission seriously. “See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves.” We can be certain that if we really become Christ’s witnesses in our nation we will be rejected, ostracised and ridiculed. When was the last time anyone of us suffered discomfort because we were brave to stand and be counted for our Christian principles. It we do not experience any form of persecution it signals that our mission is being watered down. It we are in the good books of everyone it says that we need to examine the quality of our mission. We must be willing to embrace suffering and ridicule for what we believe to be the truth. "Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.” Jesus was right when he said “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets." Luke 6:22-26

But we must not be fearful as we exercise our Christian ministry. We need not fear. Stand firm. Nothing will hurt you. The element of fear is one of the biggest hindrances to the church exercising its prophetic ministry. We shy away from exercising a prophetic ministry because  of the dangers and persecution that might come. How many of us are willing to lose our social status, privileges, friends and the like for being faithful to God. Many of us compromise our Christian principles and belief so as not to cause offence. Too many of us close our eyes to the evils that exist; we turn a blind eye to the sins of our nation and its people. When we refuse to witness to the truth we do our nation and people more harm than good. In many instances we have to accept blame for some of the difficulties our nation faces because we are keeping our silence when we should be speaking. We allow political, social and economics allegiances to stand in the way of our Christian witness and in the process we become disloyal to Christ, compromise the Gospel and sell our souls.

The times in which we are living need men and women who are courageous and bold to witness for Christ in all spheres of life. The mission of Jesus is not for cowards, the timid and the fearful. Today’s gospel asks the question ‘Who is on the Lord’s side?”

We have a golden opportunity to witness for Christ at this time. But our mission cannot be accomplished unless we are all involved and committed. "The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few.” There is a need for labourers who will help to further the cause of Christ. We are on a mission of peace.

There is the possibility that we might become frustrated if it appears that our message is not being heeded. This is possible but the Gospel speaks of the need for perseverance. Even if our message is rejected there is the joy of knowing that we were faithful to our call. “Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." 

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