The Tenth Chapter of Matthew’s Gospel is called The Missionary Discourse. In this chapter, Matthew lists the twelve apostles by name and passes on to them the authority that He (Jesus) had over diseases and demons. Then Jesus sends them off to spread The Good News. They are to proclaim that ‘the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand’ – a lofty announcement indeed!! And they are to travel light – no superfluous things like money, sandals or a second tunic. They are to be totally dependent on the charity of those to whom they preach. So, they have a lofty proclamation to make and they need not be concerned about clothing, lodging, and the need for money. This “Jesus Enterprise” is not going to be easy!!!
In the Gospel selection from Matthew for today, Jesus warns them that they would most likely encounter resistance from the religious authorities and maybe even from their families. They are not to be concerned about what they are to say but they are to be dependent on the Spirit of the Father who will speak through them. That too – dependence on the Father – is not going to be easy.
While today’s Gospel was addressed to Jesus’ immediate followers, it is also true for us who some two thousand plus years follow Jesus. Perhaps there have been times when our families, our friends or our colleagues don’t understand the choices we make or the way we choose to live out our Christian commitment or the decision we might make to support someone. To be a true Christian isn’t always easy. But Jesus reminds his disciples – and us – that ‘whoever endures to the end will be saved.’
Perhaps in the light of today’s gospel it might be a good thing to reflect on our own journeys with Jesus. There is much in our world today that needs a gentle Christian touch; a gentle Christian understanding. So many people are alienated from their families; their church; and their place in society. What do the followers of Jesus have to say to these people? This is not an easy question to answer but it is an important question each of us has to answer – how do we follow our Lord today?
May we each be blessed with the courage to be authentic followers of Jesus, the Christ. Amen.