You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
In St Matthew’s Gospel we learn that the crowds were coming to Jesus to hear him teaching the good news of the Kingdom of God and to be cured from ‘every disease and every sickness’. Matthew 9:35 (NIV). Clearly there was too much work for him, in human form, to do alone and so he instructed twelve of his disciples to go out amongst the Jewish people to proclaim the good news, to cast out unclean spirits, to cure every disease and sickness as well as raising the dead. Quite a tall order for a bunch of untrained fishermen, tax collectors and the like! Now, of course, Jesus was well aware that the time would come when he would not be around on earth, yet people would still need to hear God’s message and to receive God’s healing power. Thus he instructed his disciples; a trial run, if you like, whilst he was still with them. That they succeeded in their mission is amply illustrated in the Acts of the Apostles; but also in the fact that, 2000 years after His death His Will and Word are still a powerful force in the world today.
The original twelve disciples are long dead but we are called to take their place, to be God’s disciples today. We may not all be able to cure the sick or raise the dead but we can proclaim the Gospel. As St Francis of Assisi is reputed to have said “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words”. Whilst there is no evidence that he did use those words his life and actions certainly demonstrated their import. And really we have no excuse since we received the Holy Spirit at our baptism just as the disciples did at Pentecost.
So, in the midst of all our preparations for Christmas, all the shopping for gifts, food and etc let us make time in prayer and reflection to prepare ourselves for God’s mission for us on earth; to proclaim the good news, to show God to all people at all times in our lives and actions.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years