The First Reading is from the Prophet Isaiah. This passage announces the Israelites return to Israel after their 50 years captivity in Babylon. It proclaims the end of a time of suffering and the beginning of a new era of peace for Jerusalem and her inhabitants: “Rejoice with Jerusalem!” The prophet teaches that if they trust in God and worship Him faithfully, they will again have the spiritual wealth, prosperity and good fortune that they once had. Peace “Shalom!”
The Second Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians. Paul experienced opposition from a certain group of converts that insisted the Gentiles must be circumcised before they could be baptized into Christianity. For Paul, circumcision means nothing. For Paul to boast of the Cross of Christ is amazing when we realize how crucifixion is regarded in his time. Paul also stated all that was necessary was faith and trust in Jesus Christ who gives peace to his followers.
The Gospel Reading is from the Gospel of St. Luke. Jesus commissions 72 disciples in pairs to share the Good News to all who are ready to listen. Before they depart, Jesus warns them that they will not be received warmly. He also tells them to travel lightly and to trust him. If people open their hearts to you, accept their offer of hospitality. Cure the sick, cast out demons. If people close their hearts to you, do not waste time arguing with them. Move on to the next town. The reading ends with the return of the 72 disciples and their stories of success.