Proclaiming the Gospel

Luke 9: 1-6
Ezra 9: 5-9 / Tb 13

Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.
(Luke 9:3)

We’re not asked to give up everything,
Or be martyrs in some foreign land,
The message that God wants us to bring:
‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand!’

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, He gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere. (Luke 9:1-6)

Reflection

Today’s Gospel passage of Luke reminds me of our own mission in establishing our first BCBP outreach in Mati City, Davao Oriental, an almost three hour drive from our city. We may not be healing the sick in that distant city, or casting out evil spirits, but at least we are preaching the Word of God in an 8-week Christian Life Program that is now ongoing. Aside from the sacrifice of waking up at 4:00 in the morning, and driving for almost six hours (back and forth), we often spend our own money on fuel and meals, giving our time and effort to our participants who must be wondering why these businessmen and professionals from another province are doing this for them instead of attending to their own businesses or leisure.

All of us who are involved in this mission believe that as Christ’s followers we must pass on to others what God has already given to us, which we did not even deserve. What we have received however, is only the privilege and not the prize. And that one does not come without a price. Our faith is indeed a great privilege because it is the key that will open the door of heaven. But we still have to pass through the “narrow gate and difficult road” of life to reach our goal. And according to our Lord, “Only a few are those who find it.” (Mt.7:14) Why? Because only a few are bold enough to acknowledge Jesus before others (Mt.10:32). He said, “Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Lk.9:26).

It has been noted that unlike other Christians, most Catholics are timid about their faith. Why are we keeping from our friends what we should be crying out on the rooftops? St. Paul said, “If we deny Him, He will deny us” (2Tim.2:12). And he proclaimed his faith in Christ to the point of chains and martyrdom. But as this Apostle to the Gentiles said, the Word of God would not be chained. From his and the other saints’ pains and death, the Gospel of Jesus Christ spread throughout the western world, conquering even the once pagan imperial Rome.

Jesus told His disciples not to take any money in their mission, so that they could put their trust completely in God for all their needs. Like the apostles, Jesus wants us to keep our focus on the essential, and not be distracted by our material concerns in this world. He said, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and these things will be given you besides” (Mt.6:32-33).

Lord Jesus, we know that You do not send us to proclaim the Gospel in the same way that You sent Your apostles. But the hardships and torment that they suffered for God’s kingdom serve as a clear challenge for us to endure what difficulties or “shame” we may have to face when we give witness to You and the Gospel. Thank You, Lord, for their example. Amen.

Comments are closed.