Jesus summoned the twelve apostles and sent them out on their first mission to proclaim the message that “The Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matt 10:7). Jesus did not give them any preaching resources, instead he instructed them specifically not to bring anything and forewarned them that they would face great challenges like sheep among the wolves!

He only promised them that He will be with them (Matt 28:20). Have you ever wondered what were the apostles’ reactions? Were they fearful? Were they wondering what they were to say and if people would mock them or reject them? Many were illiterate and they had only known and followed Jesus for less than three years! Had they learnt enough to perform the work that Jesus was doing? It seems like a tall order, isn’t it?

The apostles surely knew how daunting it was going to be and that there would certainly be the fear that they may even lose their life. However, the apostles went with the promises of Jesus and thereafter, the scriptures have recorded that they performed miracles, cast out demons, heal the sick in the name of Jesus. The apostles knew they were not doing it with their own strength and understanding but God’s (Acts 3:16). Jesus gave them authority (Matt 10-1, 28:18-19). They believed and used that authority for the mission.

Do you know that you too have been given that authority and power for mission?

Our Baptism unites us with Christ and we are made priest, prophet, and king. We too are summoned by Jesus through our prophetic role to bring the Good News to others with the authority and power given to the apostles. God desires salvation for all (1 Tim 2:4). Our Father has sent Jesus to save not just you and me, but all of humanity. Hence our salvation is not a personal affair. Jesus has clearly instructed in Matthew 10:27 to make known what we have heard, to speak of the truth that the world is denying. How are we responding to Jesus’s call to defend the truth? Do we trust Jesus enough to be like the apostles, armed with His promise and are we going forth to proclaim His Kingdom?

Inevitably we will face objections like Jeremiah did in the first reading, but Jesus assured us in Matthew 10:28-30: to “not be afraid of those who kill the body but have no power to kill the soul” and that Our Father will watch over us like he does with the sparrows. Jesus too was mocked and judged while carrying out the work that God His Father had commissioned Him to do. Perhaps we are like Jeremiah for when we are faced with objections or humiliation, we would say to ourselves “I will not think about him, I will not speak in His name anymore“ but deep in our hearts, we are probably like Jeremiah “But His word in my heart becomes like a fire burning deep within my bones. I try so hard to hold it in, but I cannot do it” (Jeremiah 20:9). Then, what do we do? Are we going to let our worldly concerns and fear overpower us?

Rejection is something we cannot avoid when we speak the truth about our faith. We want to have many “likes”; we want to be approved of what we do. What do we do when our actions elicit not approval but criticism? Will God’s promise and affirmation be enough for us?
The Lord helped them (Acts 11:21). Do you believe that Jesus our Lord will help you too? Commit your work to the Lord and your plan will be established (Proverbs 16:3).

Marilyn Chua and Monica Jyoti Charles