Qualifying the chosen – Wednesday, 14th week in ordinary time –  Mt 10:1-7

 With this pericope we walk right into the second of the five discourses found in Matthew.  This one is often referred to as the ‘mission discourse’.

Jesus is not a solo artist though He could be. Strictly speaking He does not need us. His invitation to share in his ministry should thus be seen as privilege, for we share now in His ministry. Chapter ten elaborates that invitation.  There is a call, there are consequences and then there is the courage needed to live that call. 

Though Jesus has many disciples, he narrows them down to twelve calling them, apostles. The very word apostle means, ‘one who is sent’. The twelve are now emissaries with real power. While the mission discourse is primarily to the apostles it is not limited to only them.

But the mission of Jesus in Matthews’s gospel is not to all. Remember that Matthew is communicating to a predominantly Jewish Christian audience. His principal focus is to them, the’ lost sheep of the house of Israel’ and while Jesus is not closed to the evangelization of the Samaritans and the Gentiles, His purpose is principally to the ‘lost sheep of Israel.’

How could we best understand this in today’s situation?  It’s as if Jesus was calling us to make His name known to the whole world but his primary focus would be re-evangelization. First reach out to lapsed Christians, the lost sheep of Israel rather than principally focusing on evangelization to all. Such a situation may arise if the number of Christians falls sharply and the need would be primarily to re-evangelize and invigorate the faith. For now the mandate to evangelize all, stands.

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