Jesus went about all the cities and
villages, teaching in their synagogues,
and proclaiming the good news of the
kingdom, and curing every disease and
every sickness. When he saw the crowds,
he had compassion for them, because they
were harassed and helpless, like sheep
without a shepherd. Then he said to his
disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the
laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord
of the harvest to send out laborers into his
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.’ Cure the sick,
raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out
demons. You received without payment;
give without payment.
I am not a parent. But there are
times when I get a taste of what I imagine
being a Father is like through caring for
our canine, animal companions.
Even the most independent of dogs
we’ve adopted and companioned has
wagged their tale upon my arrival home
from work, greeted me with ‘love kisses’
and allowed me to cradle their body
upside-down in my arms while gentle
rubbing their underbelly.
I laughed when I recently read that
dogs and other animals, like humans,
possess oxytocin which is both a hormone
and a neurotransmitter in the brain. While
having several functions and varied
effects, it can increase when a dog
emotionally connects with an object of
affection. This is similar to what takes
place in humans, and even in some other
All to say, I admit to feeling like our
dog’s ‘daddy’ and as though our little
canine is our adopted ‘child’. And that,
too, makes me laugh.
Nearly 4,000 years ago, Sarah
thought she was perpetually barren.
When she was near 90 years old, Sarah
overheard three mystical strangers telling
her husband, Abraham, that his wife
would give birth to a son. While the
thought of it first soothed her soul, Sarah
knew it to be ridiculous and laughed.
But God’s promise to Abraham
would come to fruition. Sarah’s 90 year
old body gave birth to Isaac. Isaac’s
name means “Laughing”.
19 centuries later, Jesus began his
ministry. I don’t think Jesus’ newly
selected 12 disciples were laughing when
Jesus told them their mission. Jesus
instructed them to proclaim that the
kingdom of God has come near. That
task they could do from seeing Jesus in
action. But those same 12 men were to
emulate Jesus’ actions by curing the sick,
raising the dead, cleansing the lepers and
casting our demons.
That’s a difficult job description to
fulfill. How would they be able to
accomplish such demands?
These 12 men were people like you
and me. I can only imagine those chosen
disciples reacting to Jesus’ instructions
with numbing confusion – more than
likely wondering what they got
themselves into – rather than nodding at
Jesus in agreement.
And, what about us today? If Jesus
required this of his first disciples – well,
does he require it of us? Are we to
proclaim that the kingdom of God is near
by curing the sick, raising the dead,
cleansing lepers and casting out demons?
I’ve never seen that printed in our prayer
book or a church brochure.
The answer to many of us may be
unsettling. Yes, we are to proclaim and
heal and restore life and cleanse and cast
out. Do we laugh nervously now or later?
How do we live as Jesus’ disciples
today and do these things Jesus instructs
us to do?
Like the first disciples we must be
saturated in God’s presence and love. We
can only be bearers of miraculous gifts
with God’s companionship. And, we
must remember, the final outcome is not
up to us – it’s up to God.
So how do we accomplish such
mind-boggling achievements? By letting
God’s life and love, God’s hope and joy
flow through us to others.
Healing comes in many forms. Love
has the power to energize and restore life.
Justice cleanses and reconnects those
estranged and ostracized. Entities,
addictions or other stumbling blocks do
not have ultimate power when confronted
by God’s liberating presence and love and
the support of community.
Yes, we can accomplish what Jesus
asks of us with God’s help, love and
presence – and we are doing such things
both as individuals and as a community of
faith – for we are helping God heal,
restore, cleanse and free by actively
sharing with others the love we receive
from our magnanimous God.
In the Meet & Greet opportunities,
I’ve had the privilege of hearing inspiring
stories of God working through you to
help in changing the lives of children and
adults through numerous and varied acts
of generosity in action.
One such story came to me not in the
Meet & Greets but by means of a phone
conversation with a son of a former
parishioner who has now passed on.
He told me that from the
complications and difficulties of her
childhood came a passion to help others.
And, God blessed her efforts. Carol
helped in establishing Daybreak – whose
slogan is “Changing Lives. Creating
Futures.” Daybreak serves Dayton by
providing safe shelter, housing, resources
and employment to youth in crisis and
homeless. Because of her passion to save
youth, God blessed her endeavors with
the healing, life-giving miracle of
Daybreak, which helps more than 300
youth ages 10 to 24 each year.
Jesus does not give a mission
impossible. Let’s laugh and enjoy our
lives and our mission as we share what
has been given to us – anticipating God
healing, restoring, cleansing and
liberating people with the power of God’s
life-changing love flowing through you