A Reading from the Gospel According to Luke 9:1-6
He summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.
Opening Prayer: O God, who manifest your almighty power above all by pardoning and showing mercy, bestow, we pray, your grace abundantly upon us and make those hastening to attain your promises heirs to the treasures of heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. Amen.
Luke here brings the 12 into the forefront of the narrative; they are presented as sharing in the Mission of Christ; they are no longer merely disciples but are given the task of doing what Jesus does; to exercise authority over unclean spirits, curing diseases and proclaiming the kingdom of God.
When God gives us a mission, he gives us the graces to complete that mission. We refer to this principle as the grace of state. In giving the apostles the mission of building his Church, he also gave them the corresponding power and authority to do so. Traditionally, the Church has understood that the Magisterium has threefold power: to govern, to teach, and to sanctify (CCC 888-895). This passage refers to teaching and sanctifying, implied by the healing. Jesus established a visible Church upon the foundation of the apostles, and that foundation still stands today in the person of the pope and the bishops in union with him. Our Lord’s Church continues to wield his power in order to continue his mission to “proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal.”
Jesus sent the apostles to “proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal.” The Church was never meant to be self-referential. Its sole purpose is to be a sign of God’s presence in the world. It comes from God and goes out to man. Your baggage allowance is zero. What slows you down? What complicates your life? Can you lay it at the feet of Jesus and walk away? Jesus suggests that we should live in a simple way and not be weighed down by petty concerns. It will be difficult for us to bring good news if we are concerned with our own details. We will be able to travel more lightly if we can make what matters to Jesus matter to us.
“Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.” It must have been with great joy and excitement that the apostles set out for their first mission. They had often witnessed Our Lord preach, refute the Pharisees, and heal the sick. They had been eagerly waiting their turn. They wanted to do great things for the Lord and prove that he had done well in choosing them. They were also somewhat nervous. Would they be able to cast out demons as he did? He commanded them to do so; therefore, in their childlike confidence, they tried and it worked! They still had much growing and learning to do as his messengers, but they were willing students and collaborators.
Closing prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, increase in our heart the zeal for souls. Help us to go beyond our comfort zone to proclaim your Gospel to those around us. Give us the light and grace necessary for the fulfillment of our duties in our own state of life. Help us to understand that fulfilling your will with as much love as we can is the best thing we can do for the Church and society.
Action of the Day: What is the dust we need to shake off? What is it that tarnishes us and dulls our shine? Today let us pray that we may keep our focus on the good news and not allow ourselves to be slowed down by attention to other messages, no matter how compelling.