Scripture:Jesus sent the twelve out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money – not even an extra tunic.” They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere. (Luke 9:2-3, 6)
Reflection: The author of Luke’s gospel understands the twelve to be agents of the proclamation of God’s kingdom. They, like Jesus, bear witness to what God is doing. They are sent by Jesus to proclaim that God’s reign is here and to heal. That is the purpose of their mission. To demonstrate their complete reliance upon God for everything, they are to take nothing with them on their journey. The Markan Jesus permitted his disciples to take a staff and sandals; the Lukan Jesus permits them to take nothing. Thus, they will not be distracted from proclaiming the good news and curing disease, that is, bearing witness to God’s mighty deeds.
An agent is one who acts for or in the place of another by authority from the other. In other words, a certain effect is caused by an agent. Luke’s gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, his second volume, feature the disciples as agents who proclaim the kingdom of God and effect God’s reign by curing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead, and so on. In other words, the disciples, given authority by Jesus, continue Jesus’s ministry; they do what he did and witness to the mighty deeds of God.
Often, modern people think that the time of God’s mighty deeds ended with the codification of the books of the Bible. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Modern agents of God’s kingdom are found in parish offices where an office manager heals a parishioner by listening to her recent trials at the grocery store. The kingdom of God is proclaimed when parishioners greet fellow parishioners before Sunday Mass begins, welcoming them to the celebration and telling them how important it is for them to be there. When those grieving the loss of a family member are invited to a short reflection on the understanding that through death life is changed, not ended, the person leading the meditation is an agent of God’s kingdom. In those and in other similar experiences nothing is needed except the willingness to be an agent of God’s kingdom.
Journal/Meditation:In what recent experience have you been an agent of God’s kingdom? What was needed for you to serve in that way?
Prayer: Relying totally upon you, O God, I know you send people to proclaim your kingdom and to heal. Through the Holy Spirit, make me an agent of your mighty deeds so that all may come to know your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.