By Orlando Hernandez
In this Wednesday’s Gospel ( LK 9; 1-6) our Lord sends the apostles out on their own to do His work, a kind of practice run for what will await them for the rest of their lives :
“ Jesus summoned the twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and He sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He said to them, ‘ Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.’ Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.”
In the previous chapter our Lord has performed miracles filled with awesome power. So when Jesus places such incredible trust in His “twelve” and sends them out to carry out His ministry, they have enough confidence in His “power and authority” to just go out and do it. Perhaps the most important factor in their “empowerment” was that they were to “take nothing for the journey”. They were to go in a state of total humility and poverty. They probably knew instinctively that they had no special ability to do miracles or convert anyone, except for the power of God that would work through them.
Every day I feel the summoning of my Lord to go out and be an instrument of His salvation. Frankly, I often do not have the confidence in myself nor the stamina to do the work of His Kingdom. And yet, I am compelled to try.
The Lord sends me out there to cast out demons, specially starting with my own. So I praise God as much as possible, specially in those moments of self-doubt, for “ The Glory of God lives in the praises of His people.” Such Glory is usually strong enough to drive out spirits of negativity, infirmity, anger, despair.
As for curing diseases, all I can do is have confidence in the goodness of God. This Sunday my wife and I visited our 87 year old friend who lives in a nursing home. She was feeling terrible. That morning she had such low blood sugar that she almost had to be sent to the hospital. All we did was listen to her patiently as she described her ordeal. As time went on she became more animated. She felt better. We were having a good time. God is wonderful ! She has a wooden cross on the wall with the word Rejoice written on it. Amen to that.
Whenever anyone opens for us the door of their hearts, or even their home, we enter in and stay there until it’s time to leave. It is great to make new friends. In the end we become “equals”, receiving as much as we give. It is a humbling experience.
As for those who do not welcome us, well, we give them their space. The dust that we leave behind is the gold dust of our prayers, and sometimes, we have to leave behind the unnecessary soil of our useless resentment. Rejection is not easy.
As for proclaiming the good news, the Lord has blessed me with His living presence often enough in prayer, so that my faith takes me through the surprisingly dry spells. He is the Divine Salesman, and He has sealed the deal for me, and recruited me to boot! I have never taken a course in Theology, although I have read a number of wonderful spiritual books, specially the New Testament. But I also find the example of so many wonderful, holy people (so many, praise God !), the greatest source of God’s message in my life. I pray to be like them. I write for this blog because I am so full of gratitude for Fr. Victor, for his light in my life. Yes, he is a father figure to me. I love him, what can I say?
In the end, I have practically “nothing for the journey “, nothing fancy or impressive that I can offer. But I occasionally feel a Joy that is too much to keep to myself. It overflows. It comes from the knowledge that God loves me immensely, but no more than anyone around me. So I try to tell everyone, often without words : “ I love you. I am at your service. What can I do for you?”
Here are some quotes from St Theresa of Calcutta, a great apostle of the Lord. I just feel like sharing them:
“ Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
Here’s a tougher one : “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”
Here is good way to start: “Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”