“As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 10:7).
Empowered by Jesus, the Apostles were sent to proclaim that the Kingdom of heaven is at hand, that the God of all creation is present in our midst, and seeks to restore a relationship with his fallen creatures. The Apostles are to continue Jesus’ saving act of healing, restoring, and reconciling humanity’s relationship with God, through word but more so in and through deed.
Salvation history has been experienced through God’s encounter and interaction with individuals. At the appointed time, his Son continued God’s work of salvation. The Apostles, followed Jesus who devoted himself to people, “accepting them, receiving them into fellowship with him and granting them forgiveness of sins. The power of his affirmation is to be found in his attention to the concrete individual, in particular to the despised, the abused, the sinner, but also involving himself with people in a very personal way… in giving himself away to them” (Gnilka 1997, 111).
We are called to do the same. Empowered by Jesus, we are not to bring about some abstract utopian ideal, but we are sent to enter into the chaos of the lives of real, concrete individuals in our midst and on the margins in a very personal way. The Gospel is not just for a select few but for everyone. This is just as true in our present moment. We are called to resist feeding our fears, prejudices, and pride, but instead come to a place of contrition, sorrow for the hurt we have caused others, for our actions and omissions, for failing to reach out in love.
Jesus, help us to be more present, accepting, understanding, kind and forgiving and send us to bring your light, love, mercy, and fellowship, to more authentically spread your proclamation: “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Help us in our encounters to be conduits of God’s love when we come together.
Photo: We are called to empower and lift one another up!
Gnilka, Joachim. Jesus of Nazareth: Message and History. Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1997.