Trust and Perseverance
Every Christian shares in Christ’s mission. When we were baptized, we became members of his Body, that same Body that reaches out to men and women in every age in order to lead them to God. This is the mission Jesus gave his apostles in today’s Gospel: he sent them to reach out to others with Christ’s good news of salvation. In fact, the very word “apostle” comes from the Greek word meaning: “to be sent.” Every Christian shares in this “apostolate.” Every Christian is sent out to bear witness to Christ, to bring his wisdom and his healing touch to those who are in need, spiritually and physically. Under the supervision of our bishops (the successors to these first Twelve Apostles), we are all called to spread the Kingdom, to be agents of evangelization. Therefore, the missionary instructions that Christ gives to his first followers apply, in analogous ways, to all his followers, us included. These instructions can be summed up in two words: trust and perseverance. Besides the clothes on their backs, the Apostles are only supposed to bring a walking stick and their sandals. Every need they have along the way will be met, but it will be met by God’s providence, not by their own self-sufficiency: they are to trust in God to sustain their efforts. The walking stick and the sandals symbolize a determination to continue moving forward, to persevere in their efforts to fulfill God’s will. They must not give up. Even when they face opposition, persecution, and a cold welcome (which they will – Christ leaves no room for doubt about that), they are not to be deterred; they are to persevere. Trust and perseverance are two key qualities of the Christian missionary – and we are all Christian missionaries, in one way or another – whose relevance will never run out.