July 15, 2018 Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause
July 15, 2018
Fr. George Smiga
Jesus decides in today’s gospel to commission the twelve to be his representatives in the world. So he sends them out two by two. But he gives them rather strange and perplexing instructions. He tells them that they are to take nothing with them except a walking stick and sandals. So why would Jesus send out his disciples with so little? Would it not make sense to bring some provisions with them for the journey?
What was Jesus thinking? Perhaps he was thinking this: Jesus knew that whenever we have things with us, we are always tempted to believe that those things are what Jesus wants us to offer to others. Jesus tells his disciples to take nothing to make it clear that what he wants them to offer to others is not the things they own but themselves, not the things they carry but the word that Jesus has placed in their hearts. He sends the disciples out with practically nothing because he does not want them to offer people bibles or medals or money. He wants them to share with others the word that he has given them.
Jesus sends us out today into our world as he did the disciples, and he wants us to share with others the word he has placed in our hearts. None of us should ever doubt that Jesus has placed a word there. To each one of us he has entrusted a word that he wants others to hear. All we need to do is find it.
What message would Jesus want us to speak to our family? It could be a message of encouragement to someone who is struggling or lost. It could be a message of forgiveness to someone who has hurt us. The gospel calls us to find that word and speak it. What word would Jesus have us speak in our school or workplace? It might be a word of objection because of the way that a fellow worker or student is ignored or mistreated. Jesus asks us to locate that word and let it be heard. What word would Jesus have us speak politically? It might be a word of approval for policies that promote justice and equality. Or it might be a word of opposition against policies that demean the poor, the laborer, or the immigrant. Jesus invites us to find the word that is within us and speak it, because that is what we as disciples are called to do.
Now, it is sometimes difficult to speak the word that has been entrusted to us, but that is our calling. In his last sermon before his assassination, Martin Luther King spoke these words: “Cowardice asks, “Is it safe?’ Expediency asks, ‘Is it politically correct?’ Vanity asks, ‘Is it popular?’ But conscience asks, ‘Is it right?’” There will come a time for each one of us where our choices will not be safe or politically correct or popular. Then we will have to choose what conscience says is right.
Jesus has placed a word in each of us. None of us have all the truth. We all, at times, speak in a manner that misses the mark. But today’s gospel calls us to locate the word Jesus has given us and, because it is right, speak it. That is the way that the voice of Jesus is heard in our world today.