Thought for the Day: The 10th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel describes Jesus preparing his disciples to go on a mission. A lot went into the preparation, but unlike Mark’s Gospel (chapter 6), Matthew never actually tells us about the mission. Strange! It’s like someone explaining at length all the challenges that went into planning a vacation, and then without ever giving any details about the vacation, the person moves onto another subject. It leaves you asking, What happened? Were you well prepared? Did you have fun? But Matthew, at first glance, appears to skip it all together. Or does he? There is some interesting language in the second half of vs. 1 where we hear about Jesus teaching and proclaiming his message in their cities. The word “their” appears to be an indefinite pronoun. Who are these people connected to these cities? Some folks much smarter than I have suggested that Matthew is really writing to his community decades after Jesus, suggesting that Jesus was very much alive in their mission work. Let me say that differently — Matthew was telling his readers that Jesus was present wherever the Gospel was shared, even when individuals felt as if they had been sent unprepared into the world. That’s pretty comforting for most of us who feel, on occasion, a bit underprepared for the task at hand. My words may feel far from perfect, but in faith, Jesus is present among and within those who are giving themselves fully to the work of sharing God’s unconditional love with the world. Those original 12 disciples were given a task and sent on a mission, and in spite of nervousness and fear, Jesus was right there with them as he is with us – he’s right there teaching and proclaiming through his body known as the church.
Prayer: I am your vessel, your instrument through which the Good News is shared. Lord Jesus, I make myself available to you so that the message I have heard is a message I am able to share, even when I find myself alone and apprehensive about the ministry task before me. Amen.
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