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Building God’s Kingdom
Thursday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick—no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.” So they went off and preached repentance. The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
Opening Prayer: My Jesus, thank you for sending your Apostles and their successors into the world to build up your Kingdom. Without them, there would be no Church! Help me recognize my own role to play in bringing about your Kingdom here and now.
- Attachment to Christ Alone: Jesus called the Twelve Apostles to detach from the earthly things they would need on their mission trip in order to bless them with God’s divine, abundant providence. Of course, he knew that they would need food, clothing, and money on their journey, but the Apostles would have to depend on the charity of those they were serving. This kind of detachment is only possible when one is truly attached to Christ. Jesus desires that we have both eternal life with him and abundant life here and now (John 10:10). When we trust in Christ, we are open to leaving behind the things we want and instead to receiving the good things with which God wants to bless us.
- Two by Two: Jesus did not send the Apostles out alone; instead he sent them two by two. This shows the importance and strength of working together to bring about the Kingdom of God. This idea of going out two by two is reminiscent of Noah gathering and bringing the animals two by two into the ark (Genesis 7:9). Two were needed to multiply life, to be fruitful. Perhaps Jesus sent the Apostles, and later the seventy-two disciples (Luke 10:1), in the same way, because two could more effectively “multiply” the message of the Gospel. Sometimes working with others to build up Christ’s Kingdom can be difficult, but our diverse ideas, strengths, and personalities make us stronger and more effective together.
- Christ’s Authority: Jesus gave the Twelve the honor of sharing in his mission by setting people free from the captivity of demons and sickness, the harbingers of sin and death. These are things that only God truly has the power to do, but he shared this power and authority with his Apostles to further his mission. Jesus bestowed his authority on them in other ways as his time on earth drew to its end. He breathed on them and gave them the authority to forgive sins, another work only God can do (John 20:22). After his Resurrection, he commissioned the Eleven and bestowed all authority upon them through his presence: “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20). St. John Paul II said the Kingdom’s “seed and beginning is the Church.” As members of the Church, we also have a share in Christ’s mission. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit who is always with us in our tasks. Do we trust in his power to work through us to bring God’s will to fruition here and now?
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, help me to trust in you and the power you give me to bring about your Kingdom. Help me to remember that my true strength comes from you, my Jesus. Give me the confidence and energy I need to build your Kingdom and bring others to encounter you at the foot of your throne.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will ask you in prayer what you are calling me to do to build up your Kingdom.
For Further Reflection: Read this General Audience address by St. Pope John Paul II: All Are Called to Build God’s Kingdom.
Carey Boyzuck is a wife, mother, freelance writer, and lay member of Regnum Christi. She blogs at www.word-life-light.com.
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