WEDNESDAY, FOURTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Gen 41:55-57; 42:5-7, 17-24; Ps 33:2-3 10-11,18-19; Mt 10:1-7
CONSIDERING OUR MISSION STRATEGIES
Jesus sent out twelve, and these were the orders he gave them: “Do not,” he said, “go out on the road to the Gentiles, and do not enter into any city of the Samaritans; go rather, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The Greek word used in the original gospel text, for Jesus instructing the Twelve, is ‘paragellein’ which means, ‘a military command’. Thus, we have here the beginning of the King of kings’ commission to his trusted messengers.
Notice that this apparent exclusiveness is very unlike Jesus. Why would he restrict the preaching of the gospel of salvation only to the Jews? There are three good reasons for this. Firstly, the Jews had, in God’s scheme of things, a very special place; in the justice of God, they had to be given the first offer of the gospel. Secondly, the Twelve were not equipped to preach to the Gentiles. They had neither the background, nor the knowledge, nor the technique. Before the gospel could be effectively brought to the Gentiles a man with Paul’s life and background had to emerge.
The third and greatest reason for this command seems to be this: any wise commander knows that he must limit his objectives. He must direct his attack at one chosen point. If he diffuses his forces here, there and everywhere, he dissipates his strength and invites failure. The smaller his forces, the more limited his immediate objective must be. To attempt an attack on too broad a front is simply to court disaster.
Jesus aimed to concentrate his ‘attack’ on Galilee for that moment. We too have received this command to evangelize. But we need to learn from the Lord how to go about it. We need to take time to ask the Lord how, within the aspects of our daily lives – at home, in the parish, at work or among friends and acquaintances – we can carry out this mission.
Response: May your merciful love be upon us, as we hope in you, O Lord.
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