A Call to Ministry

The Gospel reading today speaks to us about the Holy Apostles whose feast we celebrate today. We are given an opportunity to hear Jesus speak to the disciples and apostles about the ministry that is before them. Most of us as we read this passage will focus on the list of names of the twelve disciples rather than the message that He offers to them. While knowing the names of the disciples is important and interesting it is the message and mission that Jesus gives to them that is of tantamount importance.

Let us take a look at this message. First, Jesus knows that the faithful of God are lost and wandering aimlessly, ‘like sheep without a shepherd.’ They need direction in their life and turns to His disciples to provide that direction by giving them authority ’over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal disease and infirmity.’ He instills within the disciples the confidence to help the faithful by addressing and abating their fears and distresses.

Secondly, Jesus provides a framework of time and focus. He tells the disciples to, ‘go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel’ not the gentiles. Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophesies found in the house of Israel. He focuses on the ‘chosen people of God’ and instructs His disciples to attend to them. Attention to others will come when the time is right and St. Paul is called to bring the Good News to the gentiles.

Lastly, Jesus provides specific tasks for the disciples as they take the Good News to the people. He tells them to do five things; preach, ‘the Kingdom is at hand,’ heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast our demons. In this tasking, we find an interesting tidbit. The very first thing Jesus tells the disciples is to preach the immediacy of the coming of the Kingdom. This is the an essential to the message of Christ.

For us who live in the light and hope of the Resurrection of Christ, we witness the grace of God upon our lives and we live in gratitude for both the blessings we receive and the challenges we face. Today we are the apostles of Christ having been baptized into the Royal Priesthood. We are called to follow in their footsteps and give witness to our faith by sharing, teaching, and preaching. “We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.” (Rm 12:6-8) Let us follow in the richness of the ministry of the Apostles as Christ puts forth in the reading today. Maybe not in the same way, but with the same fervor and love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.