New English Translation (NET)
5 Whenever you enter a house, first say, ‘May peace be on this house!’ 6 And if a
peace-loving person is there, your peace will remain on him, but if not,
it will return to you.
I have read this passage many times. The Lord spoke these words to 72 whom He chose to precede Him on His way. Something leaped from the page today which honestly has not done so in the past. This might be because I prayed for Him to open my ears before the Mass began and this was the Gospel reading.
What spoke to me were the words “a . . . person.” Consider the time this took place and the culture. The homes would have multiple generations and countless servants. Some of those servants would have been quite highly trusted and near “family” members. There were, thus, many in the home to greet the appointed travelers. That being said “if a . . . person” becomes HUGELY revealing.
Jesus chooses us and entrusts us with His work to do. The Holy Spirit guides and guards us but this does NOT mean the task will be easy, only that we are not alone, just as the 72 were not alone, having been sent in pairs. The reason this leaped off the page or off the lips of Fr Chris as he read these words was the fact that the homes were potentially full of unwelcoming and challenging folks and thus those sent would be faced with less than ideal situations to face. Jesus did not say to stay if everyone welcomes you. He clearly expected them to stay if even just one . . . imagine yourself in this situation.
Would you desire to stay? Would you feel rejected by many and mourn your long walk on dry dusty roads in the heat only to have a single kindred spirit? Would it seem a waste of time, of effort? As Christians we are called to reflect Christ. Jesus loves each of us so much that He would have died even if you or I were the only one He’d saved. Being a Christian is NOT an easy life, but for me it is the ONLY life. Why do I love Jesus so?