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.
Bumper stickers covered the tailgate of the SUV parked at my neighbor’s house. The sticky statements hinted at the owner’s somewhat liberal beliefs such as, “There are no jobs on a dead planet.” I wondered what the car’s owner did in real life to live these beliefs.
Today’s Gospel describes Jesus’ call and missioning of the Twelve. Rather than a one-shot assignment, they were sent out to do many deeds. I imagine the disciples’ bumper stickers if there had been SUVs back then: Called, Empowered, Sent. We Cure Diseases. Seeking the Lost. God’s Kingdom Builders. There’s Nothing We Wouldn’t Do for Jesus.
St. Ignatius said, “Love ought to manifest itself in deeds rather than words.” This saint’s 16th century wisdom reminds us that words—and bumper stickers—are meaningless without action.
If you chose a bumper sticker for your life, what would it say and how would you live its message daily?
—Diane Amento Owens is a spiritual director who encourages her directees to see the world through the lens of Ignatian spirituality.
How am I supposed to follow you, Lord? There’s so much distraction and noise that I cannot hear myself think. So many possibilities and choices and voices, and I’m tossed in 10,000 directions. Help me to seek silence so that I can hear your still, small voice speaking amid the noise and busyness of my life. Keep calling me, Lord. In the silence of my heart I will listen. Keep calling me, Lord. Open the ear of my heart and grant me the grace to respond to your voice today.
—Diane Amento Owens