He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.”
So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Today we see Jesus’ disciples become missionaries for the first time. A missionary is often depicted as someone who goes to another country, like St. Francis Xavier and so many others. But when I went to Brazil to serve as a missionary, I was surprised to find that lay Brazilian Catholics called themselves missionaries even if they’d never left the city they were from. They rightly understood their pastoral, social service, and social justice work in prisons, with the sick, or as catechists, to be the work of mission.
To be “sent” in mission is not to travel far, but to leave our church buildings to proclaim and be the Good News in the world. This scripture reminds us that our faith is not a gift to keep for ourselves. We are sent by Jesus Christ to go out into the world to witness, in word and action, to God’s love. How can I be a missionary disciple today?
—Catherine Heinhold is the Pastoral Assistant for Ignatian Programming at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. where she facilitates prayer programs and the Young Adult Community.
Loving God, give me the grace today to be a missionary disciple. Depending only on your love, send me forth to proclaim the Good News with my words and with my actions. Draw me especially close in service and solidarity with individuals and communities living on the margins. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.