Today, Jesus gathers the Twelve together and sends them out two by two to preach and teach his message. Jesus gave them a number of instructions: take nothing (and He means nothing) for the journey. They have the clothes on their body, the sandals on their feet and a walking stick. They were not even to take a second tunic with them!

Are we willing to travel lightly, to leave home and venture into new territories? Are we willing to travel lightly and trust that if we need help, shelter or food, we will be cared for by the generosity of others and of God?

We are ‘Jesus’ Twelve’ in today’s world. We also are to travel lightly, wear simple clothes and take a walking stick with us. We are not to take any money, food or other clothing! However, we can wear sandals (or maybe another style of shoes). Now, can you imagine yourself doing this? When Joanne and I volunteered to serve First Nations people in Saskatchewan we packed our truck to the roof and took thermal snow boots. A little nippy for sandals! We learned the difference between snow tires and winter tires when it reached -50ºC! When was the last time you packed a suitcase? Did you double-check to be sure you had everything in it that you would need (and perhaps more than that)?

So Jesus needs us, His disciples, to help Him fulfil His Mission on earth – even if we get things wrong sometimes – And we are all aware of plans that went very wrong in our relationship with First Nations People! People had their own purpose and plan, not Jesus’ plan! Amos (1st Reading) was simply a shepherd, yet it was he who was sent to preach a message of repentance. The Apostles were mainly fishermen, asked to do the same thing: follow Jesus’ plan. Yes, there is a role for “experts” – healing is left to the medical professions; teaching to the teachers; helping the poor to the government or charitable groups, but we’ve learned a lot during this pandemic. Specialists are needed, but others also have much to offer and it is often done with a warmer heart! The sick need companionship as much as medicine; the elderly need people to spend time with them; the young need someone to take an interest in them; all we often need is a caring heart!

Jesus makes us His partners in His work of salvation – it is an honour and a responsibility. To preach and teach His message is to follow His example of acceptance and love. His teaching has always directed us to share the Gospel message by example. We are called to share our gifts and talents by the way we live and relate to others. That starts by being a welcoming parish community! How welcoming can we be to people returning to church after the shutdown?

To do His work means to be faithful in little things – it means doing our tasks, no matter how simple, thoroughly and joyfully. We need to be available; to avoid the limelight; to be useful, not pushy; to carry our own burdens without them being burdens to others. Basically to be ready, helpful, loyal and constant – in these ways we are instruments of the Kingdom.

So the disciples replicated the ministry of Jesus in this way – they taught the same message he did, and exorcized demons and healed people just as Jesus did.

The disciples understood that Jesus wasn’t just someone to believe in, or to be listened to. Jesus was someone to copy, to imitate. So many of us today are so stuck on having the license to do as we please, to fit into society, to make ends meet, to raise our family properly in our own culture, that we fail to realize that the first and only call of the Christian is to be Christ-like.

It is not enough for us to believe, we must live.

It is not enough for us to speak as a Christian, we must be Jesus.

It is not enough for us to listen to the Bible; we must breathe God’s spirit.

It is not enough for us to pray, we must be the answers to our prayers.

It is not enough for us to receive love, we must give love.

We could say that we are unable to do this. That it is too difficult a task, too much for any human. And it is true. Even Jesus did not do it himself. He depended on the power of God and did only what God had given Him the power to do. Jesus is not asking any more than that from us.

Yes, Jesus commands us to lay hands on people and heal them BUT it is not our power, but God’s that heals. Jesus commands us to preach the kingdom of God BUT it is not our words, but His we use. Yes, Jesus commands us to travel with nothing but clothes BUT we are dependent not on our provision, but God’s.

Today, Jesus is sending us forth! Will we follow in Jesus’ steps and do as He did? We are called! Will we respond?

Do we believe that with Jesus’ Grace, we also may drive out the demons of fear, shame, anger or pride, for ourselves and for others?

Ask yourself: How do you strive to be a disciple of Jesus in our world?

-Dcn. Terry Murphy

Category Homilies