Year A: 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Matthew 9: 36 - 10:8
Today’s Gospel is the first of three in which we recall the instructions that Jesus gave to His disciples.
He has seen the crowds who have followed Him and is saddened to see them so lost - like sheep without a shepherd. They are the harvest of which He speaks - but is painfully aware that there are very few people who could gather them in.
It is at this point that He begins to commission His disciples, calling forth twelve to be apostles - those who go out and proclaim the coming of the Kingdom.
The twelve apostles gathered around Jesus remind us of the twelve tribes of Israel who marched with the Ark of the Covenant in their midst. God dwells with His people - but earthly leaders are needed to show people how to live in His favour.
Their first mission, then, is to the “lost sheep of Israel” - the people who were promised a Messiah and the establishment of God’s Kingdom. Of all peoples on earth, it was reasonable to assume that they would be most receptive to the proclamation of the Kingdom.
Jesus instructs the disciples not simply to proclaim the Kingdom - but to make it real by curing those who were sick - raising those who had died - cleansing lepers - casting out devils. They are not commissioned simply to speak - but also to act in the name of the Lord.
Over the course of time, it became clear that the Kingdom was to encompass Samaria and pagan territory - a Kingdom for Jew and Gentile alike. Today, we see the beginnings of the mission that was eventually to reach to the ends of the earth...
It is a mission we now share. To some is given the specific responsibility of apostle and bishop - but all are called to witness to the Good News - to gather rather than scatter - to give freely from the abundance they have received.
What does it mean for me?
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