In today’s Gospel Jesus commissioned the Twelve to be “apostles.” The word “apostle” comes from the Greek word that means “to send.” So, as we hear in today’s Gospel, Jesus “summoned the Twelve and began to send them out” to continue his mission of preaching and healing. He sends them out “two by two” and instructs them to take nothing that might impede their mission. He tells them to take “no food, no sack, no money in their belts.”
This missionary call to simplicity and poverty had a great impact on St. Francis of Assisi and his own call to radical poverty and evangelization. In his rule he quotes from the Gospel of Matthew: “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:21). Francis’ life of radical poverty opened his eyes to the good of God in all of creation as his praised God through “Brother Sun” and “Sister Moon.” He preached to all of creation the love of God and the call to receive and share the peace and mercy of God. Francis was a true follower of the Twelve Apostle in today’s Gospel who “went off and preached repentance…drove out many demons…anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.”
You and I through our baptism have also been commissioned to continue the Jesus’ mission of evangelization, to preach and heal by words but even more by actions. Jesus sends you and me to be ministers of healing and reconciliation and instruments of God’s peace. Jesus commissions us as he did his first disciples in the great commission at the end of Matthew’s Gospel:
“Go…make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Jesus’ final words are words of a promise, “Behold, I am with you always.” Like the twelve apostles let us strive to live lives of simplicity as we follow in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus.
Image: “Christ Sends Out His Apostles” by Lawrence OP is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.