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Listen to or read a reflection on Matthew 10:7-15.
Jesus said to the twelve: ‘As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for labourers deserve their food. Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgement than for that town.’Matthew 10:7-15
When we travel, the majority of us like to pack for every possible eventuality. Every climatic variation has to be catered for; every imaginable financial and medical crisis has to be anticipated and prepared for.
This means, for so many, that the preparation before travelling, coupled with the act of moving from home to our destination, leaves us exhausted and incapable of fully engaging with the true purpose of our journey.
And then, when we return home, we realize that we used almost none of the ‘stuff’ we took with us.
In today’s reading, Jesus is charging his apostles to adopt a very different attitude.
As we read yesterday, they are being sent out to take the good news of Jesus’ exciting new message to the Jewish nation.
Firstly, they are empowered to Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. They are being told to do everything they have seen Jesus do.
With such an enormous responsibility being laid upon their shoulders, their first reaction must have been to rush to gather all those ‘things’ – just in case …
But … Jesus was ready for this very human reaction.
He told them not to take any money, or spare clothes and shoes, or even their trusty walking poles.
Jesus is charging his apostles to go out trusting solely in God’s good grace to support them.
And … Jesus is not just talking to them about their packing.
Jesus is giving them very specific instructions about what they are to do when they arrive in unfamiliar communities.
And these instructions serve to emphasize the enormity of the task that is being laid upon their shoulders.
Jesus charges the apostles to bring his greeting and peace to all they visit.
He does realize that some will not be prepared to accept that greeting and peace, but their first duty is to freely offer Christian love to all.
And therein lies Jesus’ challenge to us today.
We, like those first disciples, are being charged to put aside the clutter and the distractions and to share the love and peace of God with all.
We are called to stop hiding behind all those ‘possible’ crises of our imaginations and trust in that we are walking the Road, the Way, of Jesus Christ – in his name.
Are we able to do that, or are we rushing for all those extra cases?