First Reading: Ezra 9:5-9
At the time of the evening sacrifice, I, Ezra, rose in my wretchedness, and with cloak and mantle torn I fell on my knees, stretching out my hands to the LORD, my God. I said: “My God, I am too ashamed and confounded to raise my face to you, O my God, for our wicked deeds are heaped up above our heads and our guilt reaches up to heaven. From the time of our fathers even to this day great has been our guilt, and for our wicked deeds we have been delivered up, we and our kings and our priests, to the will of the kings of foreign lands, to the sword, to captivity, to pillage, and to disgrace, as is the case today. “And now, but a short time ago, mercy came to us from the LORD, our God, who left us a remnant and gave us a stake in his holy place; thus our God has brightened our eyes and given us relief in our servitude. For slaves we are, but in our servitude our God has not abandoned us; rather, he has turned the good will of the kings of Persia toward us. Thus he has given us new life to raise again the house of our God and restore its ruins, and has granted us a fence in Judah and Jerusalem.”
Responsorial Psalm: Tobit 13:2, 3-4A
Blessed be God, who lives for ever. He scourges and then has mercy; he casts down to the depths of the nether world, and he brings up from the great abyss. No one can escape his hand. Praise him, you children of Israel, before the Gentiles, for though he has scattered you among them, he has shown you his greatness even there. So now consider what he has done for you, and praise him with full voice. Bless the Lord of righteousness, and exalt the King of ages. In the land of my exile I praise him and show his power and majesty to a sinful nation. Bless the Lord, all you his chosen ones, and may all of you praise his majesty. Celebrate days of gladness, and give him praise.
Gospel: Luke 9:1-6
Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.
[Jesus] sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey . . . .”
You may be familiar with this Gospel passage. I don’t know about you, but the part that always stops me in my tracks is when Jesus tells the Apostles to take nothing for the journey. Nothing, Lord? Not even a second outfit? Wow, that is intense. I mean, I know following Christ is a serious undertaking, but worldly, human me has a really hard time wrapping my head around that instruction.
But as I reflected upon the passage further, I realized I overlooked something. Something key. Did you notice what happened right before this sending forth?
Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases . . . .
Jesus gave the Apostles power and authority. He gave them something for the journey. In fact, Jesus gave them exactly what they needed. While they had nothing materially, they had spiritual gifts from the Lord worth far more than anything they could have physically carried. The same holds true for you and me. Whatever God’s mission is for you, whatever your vocation, whatever season of life you are currently in, He will bless you with exactly what you need to succeed in His calling. How easy it is for us to focus on the things of this world. How counter-cultural it would be for us to focus on the eternal. Yet this is what we are called to do. When it seems like you don’t have what it takes to face the task at hand, have courage and take heart, dear sisters. Jesus will give you everything you need.
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How is God calling you to proclaim His kingdom? Spend some time in prayer today that you might be open to receiving the spiritual gifts and graces He so desires to pour out upon you.
Elise Howe is a devoted wife, new momma, and musician currently living in NYC, though she will always be a midwestern gal at heart. You can find out more about her here.