In today’s gospel, Jesus gives a “pep talk” to the twelve disciples he is sending out on mission. It has to be the worst pep talk ever – realistic, but grim.
16 “Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.17 But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues,18 and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans.19 When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say.20 For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.21 Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.22 You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 10:16–23)
In today’s gospel, “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. Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words— go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.”
Shaking off the dust from the feet is an symbol of dissociation. Nehemiah 5:13 has a similar act as does Acts 13:51 (as Paul and Barnabus shake the dust of Antioch off their feet and move on to Iconium. In all its forms, one is calling it quits and they want nothing more to do with the place (Luke 10:11 spells it out more fully). Continue reading
Knowing the Mission. I have two thoughts for you today. The first concerns “the twelve” while the second involves Jesus’ instructions: “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” (Mt 10:5-6)
The Twelve. This is the first time in Matthew’s gospel that Jesus calls to himself a “select team” of disciples to whom he will assign a mission. Up to this point in time, the disciples were called one-by-one, witnessed Jesus’ proclamation of the Kingdom of heaven being at hand, and watched Him perform miracles. Now they are being sent out to proclaim the Kingdom. Continue reading