The kingdom of heaven is at hand!
Readings: 1st: Hosea 10, 1-3. 7-8. 12; Ps: 104; Gos: Mt 10:1-7
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment. He is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico; the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. For more details and comments contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Today is the Wednesday of the fourteenth week of ordinary time. Mathew opens a new narrative in the mission of Christ.
Yesterday, the gospel ended with the following words of Christ: “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few. So, ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”
Hence, it is not surprising that Christ decided to put his words in action by sending out his disciples as missionaries to different regions of Israel.
Through this, Christ demonstrated that is a true shepherd who cared for his flock. This is especially, the lost and wounded sheep of Israel.
Christ recognized that there were those whose spiritual and physical wellbeing were seriously threatened by different forces of evil.
In today gospel, Matthew told us that Christ gave his apostles authority to drive out, un clean spirits, and to cure every illness.” Indeed, this was part of the great commission.
However, the primary purpose of sending them out was to preach the good news Hence, Christ mandated them: “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”
On the other hand, the secondary purpose was to liberate the people from all forces, including evil spirits, that made life difficult, and hindered the spiritual and physical progress of God’s Children.
Important questions have been asked about, why Christ told them “Do not go into pagan or Samaritan town.” First, it was in fulfillment of the various prophecies that, the Messiah will come to save the house of Israel.
Second, it was part of Christ’s missionary strategy. It was like saying for now, let us begin from the known to the unknown.
Of course, at the appropriate time, Christ took the good news to the gentiles through his discourse with the Samaritan woman (Jn 4:4-26).
Also, later he chose and instructed Paul my himself, and dedicated him specially for the mission to the gentiles (Rom 11:13–14).
So, today let us ask, God to continue sending faithful laborers to his mission, who will continue to sow proclaim the good news of salvation.
Peace be with you all!