I suspect one would think long and hard about one’s real commitment to Jesus, before he or she would accept a mission like the one we hear of in today’s gospel The “fine print” is very clear: “carry no purse; no haversack, no sandals; and salute on one on the road.” How many people do you think would sign up at the recruitment desk today, with such conditions?
What is at stake here is the success of the proclamation of the kingdom of God. Faith comes from hearing. But how receptive would the hearts of the members of the audience be if the missionary showed up in a Rolls Royce, wearing designer clothes from David Jones, and smoking an expensive, imported Arawak cigar ($60 each)? Such a life style for a missionary would be counter active to their message of total trust in God.
Accordingly, the missionary adopts a thrifty life style. As the famous saying “the medium is the message” goes, – meaning, I would suggest, that an opinion about the “messenger” is crucial for setting the stage for the message itself. In other words, if the missionaries show up emptyhanded, it would be a powerful and convincing sign, or message, that they themselves believe totally in their own assertion that Jesus is Lord; that the kingdom of God is at hand; and that the Lord will provide for the needs of those who trust in him.
The disciples of Jesus who followed his instructions were successful beyond their wildest imagination! We can easily draw the conclusion that they also “prayed for more labourers for the harvest,” as Jesus requested. That, too, is part of our mission.
All disciples of Jesus share his power; they also share in his lot – that is, his mission, joy, and sufferings. Pray that the Lord send more labourers for the harvest!