In commissioning the apostles in today’s Gospel, Jesus gives them, and us, a preview of His Church’s mission after the resurrection.
His instructions to the Twelve echo those of God to the twelve tribes of Israel on the eve of their exodus from Egypt. The Israelites likewise were sent out with no bread and only one set of clothes, wearing sandals and carrying a staff (Exodus 12:11; Deuteronomy 8:2-4). Like the Israelites, the apostles are to rely solely on the providence of God and His grace.
Perhaps, also, Mark wants us to see the apostles’ mission, the mission of the Church, as that of leading a new exodus – delivering peoples from their exile from God and bringing them to the promised land, the kingdom of heaven.
Like Amos in today’s First Reading, the apostles are not “professionals,” who earn their bread by prophesying. Like Amos, they are simply men (Acts 14:15) summoned from their ordinary jobs and sent by God to be shepherds of their brothers and sisters.
Again this week, we hear the theme of rejection: Amos experiences it, and Jesus warns the apostles that some will not welcome or listen to them. The Church is called, not necessarily to be successful, but only to be faithful to God’s command.
With authority and power given to it by Jesus, the Church proclaims God’s peace and salvation to those who believe in Him, as we sing in today’s Psalm.
This word of truth, this gospel of salvation, is addressed to each of us, personally, as Paul proclaims in today’s Epistle. In the mystery of God’s will, we have been chosen from before the foundation of the world – to be His sons and daughters, to live for the praise of His glory.
Let us, then, give thanks for the Church today, and for the spiritual blessings He has bestowed upon us. Let us resolve to further the Church’s mission—to help others hear the call to repentance and welcome Christ into their lives.
Scott Hahn is founder of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, stpaulcenter.com.
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