Our Gospel passage today is from Matthew Chapter 9, beginning at verse 35
As we wind down from our Easter celebrations, the Church liturgy takes us to what we refer to as Sundays in Ordinary Time or Ordinary Sundays and gives us an opportunity to explore Matthew, our Gospel cycle for this year. Today’s extended passage includes the ‘Missionary Discourse’, the fourth of Jesus’ five great discourses in Matthew. What is scripturally significant about this passage is that many Christians believe that this commissioning is relevant not only to the twelve apostles, but to the life of every Christian believer and seeker and Jesus seems to makes the mission look easy. He goes to all the cities, preaches in all the synagogues and cures every single ailment. No distance is too great, no audience too sceptical, no disease too severe. Jesus gets it done. When he commissions his disciples to carry out his ministry, things get much more difficult but despite the challenges, despite the questionable likelihood of success, despite our inevitable difficulty in accomplishing what he could do far more easily than we, Christ confidently sends us out. This text forces us therefore to acknowledge the gap between the ideal and the real, and then to take a major leap of faith in our own discipleship. Just as the disciples were sent out to those towns in ancient Israel, the followers of Jesus continue to be challenged to take little more than faith out into this world and get Christ’s work done. This passage leaves as a mystery why Christ includes us in his mission and how exactly we meet success through him, but the faithful do achieve miraculous things. Why? Perhaps because Jesus continues to lead those who trust wholly in him. Perhaps it is because prayers are being answered. Perhaps the followers of Christ have found the faith to see that the gap between the real and the ideal can be bridged. Jesus, at least, seems to think we can get the job done, even if it will not be easy. So, are we prepared to take the leap of faith as God’s labourers into this bountiful harvest?
Blessings, Fr Jonathan