Good morning, happy Thursday, and many blessings.
Today’s Gospel, Matthew 10:7-13, speaks about the teachings of Jesus to the disciples on how to announce the Good News of the Kingdom to “the lost sheep of Israel” (Mt 10:6).
At this point in His ministry, Jesus tells them not to be concerned with procuring extra provisions for their journeys as they went to preach the gospel, heal the sick, and cast out demons. He specifically instructed them, "Take nothing for the journey, neither staffs nor bag nor bread nor money; and do not have two tunics apiece" A short time later, He gave similar instructions: "Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road."
The parallel account in Matthew 10:7-10 mirrors these directives: And as you go, preach, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food.
Jesus Christ was not issuing a blanket prohibition against sandals, or against money, or against owning more than one shirt. However, for a limited interval of time, He directed them to travel lightly, for a number of reasons.
First, for these initial activities, Christ did not want His disciples to be concerned about physical preparations. He wanted them to focus on the job that He had given them to do—preach the gospel and report back to Him—rather than on worrying about obtaining extra clothing or footwear. His emphasis was on the mission He was sending them on, but He knew human nature's tendency to worry about the details of its own comfort and existence. He did not want the disciples caught up in any preparations that would delay or distract them from His work through them.
And second, Christ was helping them to build faith in God as their Provider. He was teaching them to live and do His work without concern for their physical lives. He states clearly that if we are seeking His Kingdom first, and all that it entails, God will provide for all of our real needs (Matthew 6:33). God provides for even the birds and flowers, and we are of much greater worth than these (verses 25-32). God even has a name that reflects this: YHWH-Jireh, the Lord will provide as He thinks fit.
In making this announcement, by being an example of the Kingdom in action, to go on this mission, it is an invitation to the hearer to come closer to Christ and the Church. Action goes hand-in-hand with knowledge and an understanding of what the community is about.
I would like you to meditate on these questions today: What would be your next steps in bringing someone closer to the community, Jesus, and His Church? How would you announce the Kingdom among us today? To whom would you need or want to announce it?