The Mission of the Twelve
A missionary in New Guinea tells this story. An old man, a recent convert to Christianity, used to come daily to the mission hospital to read the gospel to outpatients.
One day the man experienced trouble reading. The doctor checked the old man’s eyes and discovered he was going blind. Next day the old man didn’t show up at the hospital. Someone said he had gone off into the hills alone. Weeks later a boy led the doctor to the man.
The old man explained to the doctor that he was memorizing the gospel while he could still see. “Soon I’ll be back at the hospital, Doctor,” he said, “and I’ll continue my work of teaching the gospel to the outpatients.”
The question for us now to reflect is this: How do we overcome obstacles that keep us from sharing the gospel?
In today’s gospel Jesus sends His Twelve apostles in pairs. Why in pairs? The reason is credibility. In Judaism, there is a need for two witnesses to attest to the truth of a deed done. He commands them to do the works which He does, that is, to cast out evil spirits, to heal and to speak the word of God. He commands them too to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. But today, our missionaries fly planes and drive cars. They have more than a staff and sandals. They use modern facilities and means to communicate like: radio, television, cellular phone, Internet and so on. Most of them are not alone but backed up by a missionary congregation with its resources.
Why Jesus commands not to take anything? This shows us the spirit of mission, which is one of witness or the essence of having abandoned everything in order to be a living embodiment of Christ and what He has lived for. And of course, the missionary should always remember this guideline that would not change: to trust in God more than in oneself and in an organization; to proclaim not himself but God alone and that the result of his efforts does not depend on him/her but on God only.
But when we talk about sending for the mission, we are not only talking here of missionaries being sent by their religious congregations to evangelize other people in other countries. It is because all of us, baptized, according to the Second Vatican Council that all baptized, by virtue of their baptism, are missionaries of the Lord.
According to Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD (2002 Bible Diary) that we are reminded today that all of us are sent by God for a mission. The mission field can be our home where a husband, a son or a daughter needs to be brought to Christ. Our mission area could be our office where a boss or officemates live as if Christian values were reserved for Sunday only. Our neighborhood could be our mission field where we are sent to bring peace and harmony to people who distrust each other, quarrel and hate their neighbors. For our mission we need only the staff of trust in God and the sandals of love.
At the end let us reflect these from an unknown preacher: “Today nine of every ten people in the world are lost. Of these nine, six of ten have never heard a clear presentation of the gospel. Of these six, three of ten have no one near them to tell them about Christ.”
OPTION 01, 02, 03,