05 Jul Friday
My homily this weekend will take up the three characteristics of the evangelist from the Gospel. Again, first, it is the bestowal or granting of peace to people and even to buildings or residences. Jesus comes with and for peace. St. Paul picks this theme up in his observation of the breaking down of artificially constructed human divisions, to be replaced by a new creation, the old things no longer mattering. Jesus begins this part of the commission acknowledging that the disciples are being sent into a violent and non-receptive world, still true today.
The second aspect of the commission defines the presence of the disciples as simple or pure, undistracted by the many things of this world. One might think of this in terms of the vow of poverty, traditionally made by religious orders so that they can focus on their charism and mission. In this passage, the poverty is on one’s belongings needed for the journey and on accepting what is given, rather than complaining and moving on to the next house where the food and drinks may be better.
The third element is the message itself, “The reign of God is at hand for you.” The phrase “at hand” is a single Greek adverbial that has the sense of immediacy and suddenness perhaps alternatively translated at “right now!” In any case it is stronger than “at hand”. Why? Well, because of the acceptance of this new creation’s peace and because of the refocusing of the person away from the things of this world to the things of heaven.
The disciples return rejoicing because their mission has been successful! We might ask ourselves today if this is true of the Church, our parish, and our individual self, especially as we are in the sacraments of service.