JULY 8. Ord Time B. Wk 14. Thu. Mt.10. 7-15
Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘As you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You received without charge, give without charge. Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with a few coppers for your purses, with no haversack for the journey or spare tunic or footwear or a staff, for the workman deserves his keep.
‘Whatever town or village you go into, ask for someone trustworthy and stay with him until you leave. As you enter his house, salute it, and if the house deserves it, let your peace descend upon it; if it does not, let your peace come back to you. And if anyone does not welcome you or listen to what you have to say, as you walk out of the house or town shake the dust from your feet. I tell you solemnly, on the day of Judgement it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom and Gomorrah as with that town.’
Faith is the greatest gift a man can possess and it reigns over everything else! No matter how “successful” we might appear; - in the eyes of the world; - nor how we have failed; - in the eyes of the world; - it should be seen as nothing to the man who has faith; - as this gift makes our life circumstances on this earth irrelevant!
And while today’s reading was addressed to the Apostles, it applies equally to each and every Christian; - ‘You have received (Faith) without charge; so bear witness to it without charge!’
But, before we can do this, we have to be aware ourselves of the treasure we have been given!
Have you noticed how your Faith embraces, and gives meaning to every aspect of one’s life; - be it tragedy, sickness, poverty, friendships, employment, or any of life’s circumstances or “successes”; - they are all embraced, and given meaning and value; - by Faith.
And this is especially so in those areas of our life that are the hardest to bear; - our struggles and (apparent) failures; - as these are the means by which we make reparation for our own sins, and the sins of the world.
To the man without Faith, life’s trials and failures are of little or no value; - but to one who has received this gift; - they are the means by which we bear witness; - not just to Faith but to our Love of God; - as we see them as a means to embrace our own Cross; - in union with Christ!
And Christ makes another important point in this Gospel, namely that we do not need any prior materials or circumstances in order to promote Gospel teachings, in fact the less we have the more able we are to live and bear witness to our Faith via Poverty of Spirit!
Which is why Christ told his Apostles; - “Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with a few coppers for your purses, with no haversack for the journey or spare tunic or footwear or a staff”; - he is telling them (and us) not only we need nothing in order to bear witness to our Faith, but the less we have the more able we are to live it, and bear witness to it.
And the reading concludes with a warning to those who have heard the Gospel message, but refuse to believe:
“I tell you solemnly, on the day of Judgement it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom and Gomorrah as with that town!”
Gospel Acclamation Mk1:15
The kingdom of God is near:
repent and believe the Good News!