As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food. Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.
If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
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.
Today’s gospel is a reminder of the simple aspects of Christianity, yet often the most difficult to enact. Matthew teaches us to include those who are excluded, that is, the sick, the dead, the lepers, and those possessed with demons. The marginalized, the people who live on the fringes of society, they are the people who deserve the most attention. The Kingdom of God will be more fully realized in the world if we see as Jesus saw by including the excluded.
Living and acting as Jesus did is the most fundamental aspect of the Christian tradition, yet it can be difficult in the midst of our busy routines filled with cell phones, meetings and emails. Let us never over complicate things when it comes to our faith. Let us go back to the basics of Jesus’ ministry, that is, including, accepting, loving, and walking with others. Have I ignored those around me who seem to blend in and disappear in the business of my life? Are there people in my communities who I should reach out to and include today?
—Samantha Grady is currently completing her Masters in Theology degree at Loyola University Chicago.
Lord, let us turn to you. Show us your face and we shall be healed, we shall be saved!
—from a traditional hymn