A Plate for Peter- Thursday- 14th week in ordinary time- Matthew 10: 7-15
The first part of the mission discourse focuses on the call or commissioning to mission. Interestingly the apostles are ‘sent’ to preach the good news but what they will experience and have to accept, is that the good news comes with a lot of bad news . Jesus is emphatic; the call to mission has no rose garden along with the sunshine.
The mission of the apostles is clear; proclaim the good news, cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers and cast out demons. This is a very powerful mandate. Imagine the excitement in a little village when the apostles raised someone from the dead. All of a sudden these twelve ordinary men would be viewed with great awe, reverence and honour. They would be sought after for their amazing gifts.
Jesus is aware what this power can do and so He cautions His apostles. He wants them to go out armed in faith and not to put their trust in material objects. In travelling light, they are dependent on God and not on their possessions.
But there is also another warning. Such power could be misused by those who wish to align themselves with the apostles; not for the sake of the Gospel but for personal gain. It is something that could happen today too. It is for this reason that Jesus says, “Whatever town of village you enter find out who in it is worthy”.
It would be a scandal to the proclamation of the Gospel if the apostles would stay in a home of one who sought the apostles for personal gain. Jesus wants His apostles and us, to do our due diligence. The proclamation of the Gospel is serious business and not some ‘happy-clappy’ exercise. The mission of the Gospel should not be shrouded in scandal nor jeopardized by those who seek to use the Gospel for personal gain. The preachers of the ‘prosperity gospel’ would do well to heed the words of Christ. The labourer deserves their food and not their caviar.
It would be interesting if the apostles had to come to our neighbourhood today. They would have to ask around as to who in the community was ‘worthy’ of lodging with. We would need to ask ourselves if we would be considered worthy of such an honour. Would I lay a plate at table, knowing that Peter would definitely sup at my house?
Fr Warner D’Souza
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