Thursday, July 12, 2018
Today, in Mercy, we read about Jesus’ first mission to the Twelve.
In the first six chapters of Matthew’s Gospel, these disciples have witnessed and entrusted their faith in the divinity of Christ. They have been transformed by what they have received. Jesus tells them now to go give that amazing insight to others through their faith and witness.
In this passage, for the first and only time, Matthew calls these disciples “Apostles”, a word which means “sent forth”. They are commissioned now to “go out” and to “preach”.
This is to be their preaching: “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” In other words, we are not simply preparing for some celestial afterlife. God is with us NOW, and NOW is the time to open ourselves to the fullness of God’s life. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we already are living heaven on earth.
We believers are given the same commission. If we have been given the immeasurable gift of faith, we must live a life that witnesses and shares this gift. Jesus tells us to do this filled with confidence and hope, and above all with the same generosity God has shown us.
Will we stand on soapboxes blasting the Gospel through bullhorns? Hopefully not! This apostolic witness is not about what we say or shout. It is about how we live – in honesty, peace, inclusivity, forgiveness, kindness, mercy – in all the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.
A life like this “goes out” beyond its comfortable boundaries to embrace those Jesus has named as first in the Kingdom: the poor, wounded, humble and marginalized. A life like this draws people to God, and shows us all what heaven on earth looks like.
It looks like a kitchen table where friends share a cup of coffee and talk gratefully about the blessings of their lives. It looks like their emerging idea to volunteer at a homeless shelter or a hospital. It looks like their decision to invite a new neighbor for lunch or to visit an elderly one. It looks like the encouragement one gives the other to navigate a sorrow, or to make a hard, life-salvaging decision. It looks like selfless love in everyday clothes.
Something today will call forth the witness of our faith. The practice of “heaven on earth” is waiting for every one of us. Let’s go out and give it as generously as we have received it.
Music: I Will Stand As A Witness of Christ