Reading: Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Matthew 10: 6-7.
Good morning, happy Wednesday, and many blessings my dear family.
Today (Matthew 10:1-7), Jesus empowers his disciples. He summons them and then he gives them authority over unclean spirits. They are to drive out these spirits and cure every disease and every illness. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the disciples were in our midst today? What are the spirits we would ask them to drive out of us? What is the disease or illness we desire to be healed of?
Jesus then names his Twelve Disciples. After naming them, he immediately sends them forth. He tells them not to go into pagan territory or a Samaritan town. Rather, he instructs them to go to the ‘lost sheep’ of the house of Israel. In every town, they are to proclaim: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Imagine yourself as one of these disciples. Jesus is standing right in front of you and giving you these instructions. How do you think you would respond? Would you take Jesus’ words literally? Would you believe that you had been given the power to drive out demons and unclean spirits and to heal the afflicted? Are you anxious or fearful about this call? Or are you raring to go and ready try out your new powers?
The reality is: each of us has the ability to heal. Most likely we will not be able to heal a physical illness. However, we can help heal someone’s spirit or belief in themselves. We have the power to gift another person with our care, love and attention. All of these gifts are healing gifts. And we also need to receive these gifts from others.
Jesus does not send the disciples far away but asks them to care for the lost. How do I hear myself invited to a deeper compassion for those around me or nearby? What is it like for me to be sent by Jesus among them? I speak to Jesus, asking for the help I need.
Also, we should not understand their mission – commission – to be confined to teaching simply, to just communicating a message. Jesus gave them ‘authority’ – that authority or power which went with his words as he himself performed miracles, and at which people marveled. We might once more recall that ‘unclean spirits’ were considered to be the root cause of all diseases and sickness, even where direct exorcism might not be called for.
And on the other hand, the narrative of this episode does not take into consideration the participation of Mary Magdalene as the Apostle of the Apostles in Jesus’ movement. And, on the other hand, the ability of the ministry of Jesus later to include all people, whether they are Israelites or not.
Today, I invite you to be mindful and give freely of the gifts that you have to share. It simply may be spending a few moments with someone who needs a bit of attention. Or perhaps it is taking the time to help a friend with a project or their cleaning. Or perhaps it is having a relaxing lunch with a friend. I also invite you to be mindful of the gifts that others share with you. You will receive them! Today, may we be mindful of noticing the gifts we receive! May we also be grateful for the love and care of the giver!