Wednesday, July 10, 2013

"A godly life is the strongest argument you can offer the skeptic"

I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same. - C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Gospel Text: (MT 10:1-7)
Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness.
The names of the Twelve Apostles are these:
first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew;
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John;
Philip and Bartholomew,
Thomas and Matthew the tax collector;
James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus;
Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot
who betrayed Jesus.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus,
“Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town.
Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”

Seriously? Did he check their resumes? These are not men who are powerful leaders.

The group includes Peter, a man so afraid of getting into trouble that he eventually would lie about even knowing Jesus. James and John argued over which one of them would be remembered as the greatest of the disciples. Thomas simply could not believe that Jesus has risen from the dead until he saw it with his own eyes. Matthew was a despised tax collector. And Judas was a close friend whose name has come down through the ages as synonymous with traitor.

In our practical and logical minds we might be saying, “What was Jesus thinking? I wouldn’t have hired any of them!” They were outcasts, poor and powerless.

Here is where we beg for grace and face reality. We see clearly our own flaws - and more clearly everyone else's! All of us lack faith and at times are stricken with terror and too often, that fear rules our lives. We let our egos get in the way and bicker about our importance and we doubt things we should believe. We judge those on the outside – like Matthew – and yet we are often on the outside ourselves.

And who is it that Jesus calls today to spread his word? Each one of us. He calls us through our fears and loves us when we are outcasts. He hears our doubts with his heart instead of logic and loves us all the more. Even Judas was cherished by Jesus.

So today we are sent. In all of our imperfections and in all of the ways we know we are inadequate. We are sent to heal those in our world who need healing. To forgive those who desperately need our forgiveness. To drive out the unclean spirits of jealousy, greed and anger.

Today, in all of our real world humanity, we are called by Jesus to spread the good news: The Kingdom of God is here!

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