Last week we heard Saint Paul say, I am content with weaknesses and persecutions for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” Today we see once again that God does not call those who are equipped for the task at hand; He rather equips those whom he calls. We see this in the characters from today.
The prophet Amos had nothing to do whatsoever with prophecy, but was called by God to go from the Southern part of the promised land and preach a hard message to the northerners. Beyond inconveniences, He clearly suffered insults and spurns for doing God's will.
The Apostles in the Gospel today are, like Amos, what the world would consider to be nobodies. However, God equips them to bring the message of the Gospel to the world on this their first mission. And in the instruction we see what style this work of evangelization takes: it is focused, it is unwavering, it is life-giving.
The mission of the Twelve is focused because they are not to concern themselves with amenities: they are told not to “shop around” for the best host they can find. Also, they take no extra clothes, no cash, nothing except sandals and walking stick: symbols that they are on the move – not to be relaxing on their laurels.
Their mission is unwavering because they are told to shake off the dust of towns that do not accept them. They are not interested with immediate results. Their task is to sow the seed; God is the one who sees to its growth. They must keep moving, keep sharing the news, and not be discouraged by what does or does not happen in the midst of it all.
The mission is life-giving because we see that their ministry is essentially focused on healing the sick and driving out demons. This seems to go hand-in-hand with their message of preaching repentance. Since sin is death, then repentance is life. The work of evangelization always gives life to those who receive it, because it echoes Jesus' opening words: “Turn away from sin, believe in the Gospel.”
The life-giving nature of the Gospel is found in the beautiful hymn of St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians that we hear today. I encourage you to reflect on this text over the next week, to discover how in Christ we have received every spiritual blessing in the heavens. This encounter with the Good News is what equips us to spread the Gospel. God does not call the equipped, he equips the called. May he strengthen us today by this Eucharist, this gift of all gifts, to be messengers of his Good News who are focused, unwavering, and life-giving.