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The commissioning of the Twelve

Gospel Reading: Mt 10:7-13
Jesus said to the Twelve: “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave. As you enter a house, wish it peace. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you.”

On this feast of St. Barnabas, we hear these words of Jesus commissioning the Twelve. Barnabas had not met Jesus personally but joined the community of early Christians in Jerusalem and invited Paul into the community. He later accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey and lived what Jesus had told his disciples.

It surprises us that Jesus sends the Twelve out with practically nothing. They are not to rely on money or any protection. They are to depend only on Jesus.

What these disciples began, and Barnabas and Paul continued, goes on even today until the end of time. Vatican II emphasizes that the Church is basically a missionary Church. The Decree on the Mission Activity of the Church (Ad Gentes) declares, “The pilgrim Church is missionary by her very nature, since it is from the mission of the Son and the mission of the Holy Spirit that she draws her origin, in accordance with the decree of God the Father” (n 2).

Its Chapter 6 stresses that “all the faithful are duty-bound to cooperate in the expansion and spreading out of [Christ’s] Body, to bring it to fullness as soon as may be” (n 36). But it also issues this caution: “Let everyone know that their first and most important obligation for the spread of the Faith is this: to lead a profoundly Christian life” (n 36).

Yes, all of us are missionaries, tasked to live and share Christ’s good news in our time.

Am I aware that I am a missionary, a person whom Jesus needs to make him known right here and now?

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SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.