The Gospel according to Matthew (10:7-15) Jesus said to his Apostles: “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave. As you enter a house, wish it peace. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you. Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words, go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet. Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”
Reflection: We have all seen a movie or television program set in ancient times where a king or queen enters a room to trumpets and an announcement of their impending entrance. Or how about an officer or other court official announcing the entrance of a judge to a courtroom who asks everyone to rise for the honorable judge as they enter. There is a certain drama or anticipation created by these types of entrances. In today’s gospel Jesus is telling his disciples to do something similar. They are to proclaim that the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. However, unlike the examples I gave, this announcement is letting those who hear it know that God is in their midst and has come to turn an upside-down world right side up. Jesus also tells them not to take any of the usual provisions a traveler would normally have on such a journey. They are to rely solely on the generosity and kindness of those they will serve. Talk about trust! I don’t know about you, but I would be very nervous. This made me think of a passage from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness”. The apostles were not necessarily to rely on other people but on the grace of God that they were proclaiming and manifesting in the relief they would provide in curing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing lepers, and driving out demons. When God is present among us and we allow his grace to flow from us to others the result, often, is grace flowing back to us. In that holy exchange we tend to each other just as Jesus would when he encountered those in need. But there is also the possibility that what God has to offer through us will not be accepted or welcomed. We know that in our own lives. Not everyone receives the Good News with open arms. Some resist or reject it even when they can be relieved of suffering and hardship. It is hard to understand why, but some would rather remain on the familiar road of this world than open themselves up to the possibility of a better life with God. Like the apostles, we are called to go forth with the same trust in the grace of God. We too experience the warmth of open arms or cold rejection of closed hearts when we proclaim that God is present among us. Yet as we forge ahead to places we never thought we could go, we can rest assured that we are never alone. God is at our side to always make sure we have everything we need to share his grace and bring relief to a burdened world.
Action of the day: Proclaim the Kingdom of God in all you do and say today. It is not necessary to preach or teach, just be the child of God you were created to be. A smile, a warm greeting, alert attention to a troubled friend, the spontaneous laughter shared in a meal or conversation. Grace abounds when we announce the presence of God in who we are and those we serve.