Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Today’ gospel recounts how Jesus summoned the twelve apostles, gave them authority over unclean spirits and the ability to cure every disease and illness. This is quite impressive! It is the next lines, however, that capture my imagination. Jesus sends the apostles forth instructing them to “proclaim the Kingdom of God is at hand.”
The Kingdom is here and now! It is not a future reality yet to come. It is not some sort of ethereal reality from another world. It is “at hand,” here among us. It is with our hands and voices and feet that God chooses to build the Kingdom.
Oscar Romero spoke beautifully about building the Kingdom: “We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete… No statement says all that should be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith…
We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.”
The Kingdom of God is at hand even if it is not complete.
—David McNulty is the Provincial Assistant for Advancement, Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits
Lord, sometimes it seems our work is going nowhere. We try so hard but our progress at best can feel miniscule. Perhaps we forget who is directing our efforts to build the kingdom. Perhaps we have become the focus and forgotten to place our dreams and talents before you. We will begin again to put our confidence in you. And then when our efforts and results feel incomplete, we can trust in your grace to enter and do the rest.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team