Saturday, 1st Week of Advent          

            “He summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority…”

            I have invited many parishioners to get involved in our parish mission. Many have declined by saying that they felt they were not qualified and prepared just yet.

            Today’s gospel talks about how the apostles are sent into mission – the mission to proclaim the Gospel and to heal the sick. Do you think these apostles were ready for it? Were they fully prepared and qualified?

            It is interesting to note that even in this story of the disciples’ mission, Jesus remains at the center. It was Jesus who called each disciple to come and follow him. Over time, Jesus revealed himself and shared his life with them. These were not self-appointed apostles, and they were not natural powerhouses of charisma and capability. The only thing that distinguished them was their relationship to Jesus.

            Before he sent them out, Jesus gave his apostles “power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases.” Everything came from Jesus. The apostles did not volunteer for the mission with any sense of confidence or conviction. They were simply sent to witness to who Jesus is, and to testify to God’s power through their actions.

            It is not different today. The same Jesus who called the Twelve calls each of us personally. This same Jesus gives us authority over demons and sickness today. This same Jesus sends us to proclaim a simple and uncomplicated gospel of the kingdom of God, to heal the physically and spiritually wounded, and to love as unconditionally as he does. We do not go forth on the basis of our ‘qualifications’ – our abilities, our powers, our perfection – but simply in the name and power of Jesus Christ.

            May this Advent season be a time for us to deepen our sense of mission – to participate more actively in the life and work of Christ. May we realize that the Lord Jesus has chosen and equipped us to do his will by the power of his Spirit living within us.

            The cries of the poor and brokenhearted are calling for compassion. Let us not forget that we are summoned to be Jesus’ eyes, ears, hands, and hearts of compassion. May we respond with compassion and love to all who come to us.         

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