St Luke 10:1-24

1 Post hæc autem designavit Dominus et alios septuaginta duos: et misit illos binos ante faciem suam in omnem civitatem et locum, quo erat ipse venturus. 2 Et dicebat illis: Messis quidem multa, operarii autem pauci. Rogate ergo dominum messis ut mittat operarios in messem suam. 3 Ite: ecce ego mitto vos sicut agnos inter lupos. 4 Nolite portare sacculum, neque peram, neque calceamenta, et neminem per viam salutaveritis. 5 In quamcumque domum intraveritis, primum dicite: Pax huic domui: 6 et si ibi fuerit filius pacis, requiescet super illum pax vestra: sin autem, ad vos revertetur. 7 In eadem autem domo manete, edentes et bibentes quæ apud illos sunt: dignus est enim operarius mercede sua. Nolite transire de domo in domum. 8 Et in quamcumque civitatem intraveritis, et susceperint vos, manducate quæ apponuntur vobis: 9 et curate infirmos, qui in illa sunt, et dicite illis: Appropinquavit in vos regnum Dei. 10 In quamcumque autem civitatem intraveritis, et non susceperint vos, exeuntes in plateas ejus, dicite: 11 Etiam pulverem, qui adhæsit nobis de civitate vestra, extergimus in vos: tamen hoc scitote, quia appropinquavit regnum Dei. 12 Dico vobis, quia Sodomis in die illa remissius erit, quam illi civitati. 13 Væ tibi Corozain! væ tibi Bethsaida! quia si in Tyro et Sidone factæ fuissent virtutes quæ factæ sunt in vobis, olim in cilicio et cinere sedentes pœniterent. 14 Verumtamen Tyro et Sidoni remissius erit in judicio, quam vobis. 15 Et tu Capharnaum, usque ad cælum exaltata, usque ad infernum demergeris. 16 Qui vos audit, me audit: et qui vos spernit, me spernit. Qui autem me spernit, spernit eum qui misit me.17 Reversi sunt autem septuaginta duo cum gaudio, dicentes: Domine, etiam dæmonia subjiciuntur nobis in nomine tuo. 18 Et ait illis: Videbam Satanam sicut fulgor de cælo cadentem. 19 Ecce dedi vobis potestatem calcandi supra serpentes, et scorpiones, et super omnem virtutem inimici: et nihil vobis nocebit. 20 Verumtamen in hoc nolite gaudere quia spiritus vobis subjiciuntur: gaudete autem, quod nomina vestra scripta sunt in cælis. 21 In ipsa hora exsultavit Spiritu Sancto, et dixit: Confiteor tibi Pater, Domine cæli et terræ, quod abscondisti hæc a sapientibus et prudentibus, et revelasti ea parvulis. Etiam Pater: quoniam sic placuit ante te. 22 Omnia mihi tradita sunt a Patre meo. Et nemo scit quis sit Filius, nisi Pater: et quis sit Pater, nisi Filius, et cui voluerit Filius revelare. 23 Et conversus ad discipulos suos, dixit: Beati oculi qui vident quæ vos videtis. 24 Dico enim vobis quod multi prophetæ et reges voluerunt videre quæ vos videtis, et non viderunt: et audire quæ auditis, et non audierunt.

And after these things the Lord appointed also other seventy-two: and he sent them two and two before his face into every city and place whither he himself was to come. [2] And he said to them: The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send labourers into his harvest. [3] Go: Behold I send you as lambs among wolves. [4] Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes; and salute no man by the way. [5] Into whatsoever house you enter, first say: Peace be to this house. [6] And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. [7] And in the same house, remain, eating and drinking such things as they have: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Remove not from house to house. [8] And into what city soever you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. [9] And heal the sick that are therein, and say to them: The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. [10] But into whatsoever city you enter, and they receive you not, going forth into the streets thereof, say: [11] Even the very dust of your city that cleaveth to us, we wipe off against you. Yet know this, that the kingdom of God is at hand. [12] I say to you, it shall be more tolerable at that day for Sodom, than for that city. [13] Woe to thee, Corozain, woe to thee, Bethsaida. For if in Tyre and Sidon had been wrought the mighty works that have been wrought in you, they would have done penance long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. [14] But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgement, than for you. [15] And thou, Capharnaum, which art exalted unto heaven, thou shalt be thrust down to hell. [16] He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me. [17] And the seventy-two returned with joy, saying: Lord, the devils also are subject to us in thy name. [18] And he said to them: I saw Satan like lightning falling from heaven. [19] Behold, I have given you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall hurt you. [20] But yet rejoice not in this, that spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice in this, that your names are written in heaven. [21] In that same hour, he rejoiced in the Holy Ghost, and said: I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones. Yea, Father, for so it hath seemed good in thy sight. [22] All things are delivered to me by my Father; and no one knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and to whom the Son will reveal him. [23] And turning to his disciples, he said: Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see. [24] For I say to you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see the things that you see, and have not seen them; and to hear the things that you hear, and have not heard them.

Commentary (de Lapide)

...Here observe,

1. That as Moses at the beginning of his leadership chose elders or princes for the twelve tribes of Israel and afterwards, by reason of the increase of the people and of the cares of government, made a further choice of six from each tribe, i.e. of seventy-two, to act as rulers: so Christ ordained that each tribe, should have its Apostle, and six presbyters or elders, for such were these disciples, who were commanded to go throughout all Judæa, preaching that the kingdom of God and of Christ was nigh, and confirming their preaching by miracles, that so the work of the Apostles might be furthered and spread.
This number was mystically prefigured by the seventy-two translators of the Septuagint; by the “men of the elders of the people” whom Moses chose (Numbers xi. 16); by the number of the Sanhedrin, and by the wells and palm trees of Elim, Exod. xv. 27.

Again, the seventy-two disciples, saith Bede, answer to the seventy-two nations of the world, as if Christ had appointed to each nation its own disciple or teacher. For S. Augustine, S. Jerome, and others hold that after the confusion of tongues, mankind was divided into seventy-two nations and languages. See Gen. x. 32.

3. Hence, it is clear that there was distinction and difference in the degrees and duties of the priests. For these disciples were not equal in dignity to the Apostles; indeed Matthias, who was, according to Clement of Alexandria, one of their number, was chosen from them to the Apostolate, Acts i. Hence the Fathers teach that the Bishops are the successors of the Apostles, and the priests of the seventy disciples. Although, in the early days of the Church, saith Bede, both the one and the other were called Presbyters or Bishops, in the one case to signify the ripeness of their wisdom, in the other case their zeal in the pastoral office.

Symbolically. As in twenty-four hours the whole world moves round the sun and receives light, so is the world enlightened by Christ through the Gospel of the Trinity, which was preached at His command by the seventy-two -disciples. For three times twenty-four makes seventy-two. S. Augustine (Quæst. Evang.)

And sent them two and two before His face into every city and place, whither He Himself would come, i.e. into Judæa, as He had before sent the twelve Apostles into Galilee. Jesus wished to make Himself known to the Jews as the Messiah, and to offer them salvation through faith in Him. Therefore as He was Himself unable to go throughout their towns and cities, because the time of His departure was now nigh at hand, He chose the seventy to go before Him and heal the sick, that the minds of His countrymen might be prepared to acknowledge Him as the Christ, and to receive at His hands pardon and forgiveness. But He kept the twelve Apostles with Him to witness to His life, and that they might also assist Him in ministering to the necessities of those who waited on His teaching, and learn how in their turn they should labour for the conversion of the world.

Two by two. For these reasons:

1. That the one might aid and support the other, as Origen, Theophylact and S. Gregory say, and that if one were weary or from any cause unable to carry on the work, the other might take his place. “Two are better than one. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth.” Eccles. iv. 9, 10.

Wherefore Pachonius rules: If the Superior permit, let him take a trustworthy companion and then go forth to visit a brother or a neighbour. And again, Let no one be sent on any business unless another go with him. S. Augustine writes, When ye are journeying, walk together—when at your journey’s end, together rest. And so rule all the other founders of the religious orders.

2. That one may always have in the other a witness to his life, and an adviser and guide. Experience teaches us that they who are associated together two by two, rarely or never are tempted to sins of impurity, but that those who are alone lay themselves open to accusations of evil, even if they have not actually fallen away. Hence S. Thomas was wont to say, A monk away from his brethren is an active evil. S. Augustine rules (Reg. cap. xii.), When ye are in a church, or wheresoever there are women, let each protect the other’s modesty. For thus God, who dwelleth in you, will protect you from yourselves. Another writer, S. Jerome, enjoins: If in the exercise of the priestly office, thou art called upon to visit a widow or a virgin, enter not the house alone; and again, Abide not alone with any woman, unless in the presence of a witness. So also S. Basil. Possidonius also tells us that if S. Augustine was asked by any women to visit them, he never entered their house or conversed with them, even on private matters, unless in the presence of some of his clergy. And so S. Charles Borromeo in our times adopted the rule of S. Augustine, for he never conversed with any of his female relations except one of his upper servants was present. (Vita. Lib. vii. cap. vi). And Seneca even (Epist. 25), says, “Solitude tempts us to every evil;” and as a corrective adds, “Without doubt, it is profitable to place a guard over thyself, so as to have some one to look to, some one to be acquainted with the very thoughts;” and adds, from Epicurus, “Do everything as if there was some one beholding thy actions;” and again (Epist. ii.), “Most sins would be avoided, if a man had a witness beside him when he was about to sin.” The Emperor Justinian also (De Monachis), decrees that monks should go about in company, “to bear witness to each other’s integrity.” And Pope Lucian (Epist. i. ad Episc.) decrees, “We exhort you, for reputation’s sake, that according to the rule of our holy Church ye always take with you priests and deacons as witnesses of your life and conversation; for although ye may have a conscience void of offence, yet because of evilly disposed men, it behoveth you, as the Apostle saith, to have a good report amongst them that are without. 1 Tim. iii. 7. Hence we have ordained that, as a testimony to the Church, two priests or three deacons should always and in all places accompany their Bishop.”

Lastly, we have the authority of S. Thomas of Canterbury, a man of great sanctity and wisdom, who says, “I who have been for thirty years a Bishop know how true is the saying, ‘Woe to him that is alone.’ For I have frequently heard of fearful dangers, and fearful scandals having befallen those who either in public or private affect a solitary life, evils into which they would not have fallen had they not shunned the companionship of their fellow men.”

3. That their preaching might be more powerful to persuade. At the mouth of two or of three witnesses shall the matter be established, Deut. xix. 15. So we find Christ and His apostles constantly acting on this rule. For Christ sent two of His disciples, Peter and John, to loose the ass and to prepare the passover. After the resurrection Cleophas and a companion went to Emmaus. In like manner we find Peter and John often associated together: they run both to the sepulchre, they go up together to pray at the ninth hour, and both are sent to Samaria by the apostles.

So Paul and Barnabas were separated for the work of the Holy Spirit; Silas and Judas, surnamed Barsabas, sent to Antioch; and Paul and Silas to Syria; and according to the universal belief of the Church, Enoch and Elias will re-appear in the time of Antichrist as witnesses to the truth.
Figuratively. S. Gregory (hom. 17. in Evang.) says, The Lord sent His disciples two by two to preach, because the precepts of charity are two, the love of God and the love of our neighbour, and charity cannot exist without at least two, and thereby he silently suggests to us that he who has not love to another ought not to undertake the office of preaching.

So Origen. It seems from the word of God to be an ancient custom, that two should be associated in His service. For God led Israel out of Egypt by the hands of Moses and Aaron. Joshua and Caleb also united together to appease the people. Hence a brother aided by a brother is as a fortified city. So two by two the animals entered into the ark, unclean by natural generation, but cleansed by the sacrament of the Church, by the spiritual grace attendant on the preaching of the disciples. Gloss.

Into every city and place, whither He Himself would come. Mystically signifying, as S. Gregory says, that the Lord Himself attends on His preachers. For the words of the preacher persuade men of the truth, and make their hearts ready to be the abiding place of Christ. Hence Isaiah, chap. xl. 3, says, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight a highway for our God.” And the Psalmist, “Make a way for Him who ascendeth upon the west, the Lord is His name.” Ps. lxvii. 5, Douay version...

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