By

Proper 6A

Matthew 9:35-10:8

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

harvest.”

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

animals.

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

and me.

 
St. Paul's is located at 33 W. Dixon Ave, Dayton, OH 45419; phone: 937-293-1154; fax: 937-293-3723 Office hours are Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.