As I began to read this morning’s text from the gospel of Matthew (10:7-15), I thought how much easier it must’ve been in the those days to rely on the kindness of strangers. On the other hand, travel was pretty dangerous back then as well. Jesus is instructing the twelve as he sends them out on mission. He tells them to proclaim that “the Kingdom of God is at hand” while they go around healing, driving out demons (whatever that might mean) and even raising the dead. I would presume that if the disciples accomplished those things, people would probably believe that the Kingdom had indeed arrived and would be willing to listen to the message they brought.
It seems to me that the greatest challenge of believing would be on the part of the disciples in this case. First of all, they were told to “hit the road” with no shoes, no second outfit of clothes, no walking stick, no luggage and no money! How far we’ve come from that moment when most people agreed, as Jesus said, that “the laborer deserves his keep.” Then, on top of that challenge there was the need for a healthy dose of confidence if they were to do all those things that Jesus told them they were to do. I can imagine myself when I left my formation house in Albany to teach high school in Binghamton believing that I could convert all the students to a love of French in addition to a life of devotion to God. (It was a Catholic school.) Some? Yes, of course. But that’s not exactly what was on the mind of 14 to 18 year-olds, even in the pre-Internet, facebook and Twitter days. Yet even that would have seemed a lot simpler than raising the dead.
So today, when I feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the task of changing the world – or even just my participation in its transformation – I am grateful for those disciples of Jesus who went out anyway, no matter how inadequate they felt, depending on God more than themselves to get the job done. That’s what it’s all about anyway. I’m totally convinced that on my own I can do nothing but with God, everything, yes, everything is possible if we gather together and believe.