Today’s gospel records the sending of the twelve Apostles to preach the Gospel to the lost sheep of Israel. Jesus summons his twelve disciples and gives them the authority to cast out unclean spirits and cure every disease and sickness.
We cannot read this Gospel without being reminded of the importance of our own mission as followers of Christ. We are called to evangelize by spreading the word of God and use our own gifts and talents to serve others. And, we are called to be agents of healing and hope, particularly now when our world seems especially filled with darkness and despair.
At the heart of the Apostolic mission is the idea of authority. Jesus gives his disciples the authority to cast out unclean spirits. This authority is not something that they possess on their own, but rather it is a gift that is given to them by Jesus himself. Jesus shares His authority with them, even as we recall that those who heard Jesus noted that He taught as One with authority. (Cf. Mk 1:27) It follows that when we are called to share our faith, we too can speak with authority, for we are following Our Lord’s command to go out and be His presence in this world. Like the Apostles we must recognize that any authority we then possess also comes from being sent by God and that it is to be used not for self-edification, but to serve others.
We cannot forget the importance of our church community. Jesus does not send his Apostles alone but in pairs, emphasizing the importance of working together and mutual support. As such we must work together as a community of believers, in supporting one another and sharing our gifts and unique talents for the greater good. In 1 Cor 12 we read that the Holy Spirit distributes spiritual gifts apportioned as He wills, precisely so that each of us, not having all the gifts, must be mutually dependent on one another.
Jesus tells his disciples to go out and proclaim the good news, and trust that God will provide for their needs. They are not to take any money, provisions, or even extra sandals. The Apostles are to have faith and trust in His providence. While the Apostles are sent to bring others to the faith, they too are being taught to have an increase in their own faith. One day soon, they would go into the world, and the fruit of this mission would sustain them. While I cannot claim to have experienced a missionary journey to foreign lands taking nothing with me, I have come to trust that God equips me when sharing my faith.
In conclusion, we ponder the authority and mission of the twelve Apostles. As we reflect on this reading, we are also called to embrace our own mission as followers of Christ, using our gifts and talents to serve others and spread the Gospel. We must work together as a community of believers, mutually empowered yet trusting in the power of faith and the providence of God. God will never send us where His grace will not protect us.