An article on the National geographic magazine says that wolves howl to communicate. A lone wolf howls to attract the attention of his pack, while communal howls may be a warning sign of territorial invasion from another pack. Some howls are confrontational; others may simply be a friendly response to a nearby wolf. Wolves are the largest members of the dog family. Grey wolf also known as the timber wolf, is about 43-45 kilos or 95-99 pounds and red wolf is larger in size with less pointed features. Wolves and humans have a long adversarial history because they attack domestic animals. Wolves live and hunt in packs of around six to ten animals. They are known to roam large distances in a single day. These social animals cooperate on their preferred animals such as deer, goat or cow. A single wolf can consume 20 pounds (9 kilograms) of meat at a sitting. Wolf packs are established according to a strict hierarchy, with a dominant male leader. All of a pack's adults help to care for young pups by bringing them food and watching them while others hunt.
In sending the disciples out in pairs to do the mission, Jesus told them to be aware of wolves. Their message of peace and love would challenge the hearts of many who would prefer to define the meanings of peace and love according to their own, not the same as Jesus taught about peace and love as we understand it. The disciples of Jesus can't avoid opposition, confrontation and persecution in the hands of those who oppose against the Gospel. Jesus himself knows exactly what would happen to Him when confronted by a pack of wolves- the hands of his opponents. Jesus is the sacrificial lamb being mauled into pieces and finally nailed on the cross to atone for our sins. We disciples of Jesus will be mocked and laughed at and suffered by laws and regulations that make it harder for our mission to serve others.
When Jesus commissioned seventy two of his disciples to go on the mission, he gave them a vision of a great harvest for the kingdom. To expect a good harvest we need to sow the word of God into people's hearts and those who receive the words and care for the word will enrich their life and give them peace. Seventy two was a significant number in biblical times. Moses chose seventy two elders to help him in the task of leading the people through the wilderness. The Jewish Sanhedrin, the governing council for the nation of Israel, was composed of seventy two members. In Jesus' times seventy was held to be the number of nations throughout the world. Jesus commissioned the seventy two to do a mission. They needed to speak in his name and to act with his power. Jesus instructed them how and what to do in their ministry. They had to serve with simplicity, charity and peace. They had to pay utmost attention to proclaim the message and not be diverted by other lesser things. They had to travel light and concentrate on the task of speaking the word of the God. They had to enjoy what is given by the people, without expecting special privileges or reward. They must be free from greed and preoccupation with possessions because the Lord wanted his disciples to be dependent on God and not on others.
The prophet Isaiah foretold a vision when wolves and lambs will dwell in peace.
The wolf lives with the lamb, the panther lies down with the kid, calf and lion cub feed together with a little boy to lead them. The cow and the bear make friends, their young lie down together. The lion eats straw like the ox. The infant plays over the cobra's hole; into the viper's lair the young child puts his hand. They do not hurt, no harm, on all my holy mountain, for the country is filled with the knowledge of Yahweh as the waters swell the sea. Is 11,6 and 65,25.
The vision refers to the end time, the second coming of Christ when all will be united under the Lordship of Jesus because the love of God has conquered all over the land. It is not our good works but God's loves that made possible. We Christians may suffer now but it will not last forever. In order to claim the glory Jesus has gained for us we need to take up our own cross to follow.