Homily July 12th, 2023

Wednesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time – Mt 10:1-7

Today’s Gospel gives us a sort of follow up to yesterday’s Gospel. Yesterday Jesus told His disciples to pray that God would send out laborers into His harvest, and today He fulfills, as it were, what He has promised: He sends His apostles out.[1] There’s two interesting words that Matthew uses to tell us what Christ did: He gave His twelve disciples “authority,” and He sent them out “after instructing them.” Authority and instruction.

The first word, authority, in Greek is eksousía and refers to a conferred power. Not only does Jesus send them, but He also equips them to carry out their mission. Notice that the power they are granted is precisely what Jesus Christ was doing earlier: casting out demons and curing and healing diseases. In this, we can see that the mission of the Apostles is a prolongation of Christ’s work; they are sent out, but also equipped to do the work that Christ Himself was doing. It is clear that the power that they have is conferred or given; it’s not their own, but rather something they are given a share or a participation in. They are, as it were, an extension of Christ.

It’s precisely for this reason that they are instructed when they are sent out. Instructed is perhaps not the best way to translate it: “the word which is used in the Greek for Jesus commanding his men, or giving them orders is interesting and illuminating. It is the word paragellein. This word in Greek has four special usages. (i) It is the regular word of military command; Jesus was like a general sending his commanders out on a campaign, and briefing them before they went. (ii) It is the word used of calling one’s friends to one’s help. Jesus was like a man with a great ideal summoning his friends to make that ideal come true. (iii) It is the word which is used of a teacher giving rules and precepts to his students. Jesus was like a teacher sending his students out into the world, equipped with his teaching and his message. (iv) It is the word which is regularly used for an imperial command. Jesus was like a king dispatching his ambassadors into the world to carry out his orders and to speak for him.”[2]

 Jesus equips His disciples, and sends them out like a general his soldiers, a friend calling his friends, a teacher his students, a king his ambassadors. This gives us a great insight not only into Christ’s commands for His disciples then, but also for us today. Christ also asks us to continue His work. He equips with His grace, and sends us out. We are to have courage like good soldiers, a love for Him and for His goal like for a friend, to follow and spread His teaching like good students, and to make sure that we represent Him well as His ambassadors. We can ask ourselves: how well do we fulfill all those roles? Are we good soldiers, friends, students, and ambassadors of Christ? If not, how can we improve?

Today, let us ask, through the intercession of Mary, Health of the Sick, for the grace to truly be good disciples of Christ who reflect the One who sends and equips them.


[1] See Remigius as cited in the Catena Aurea: “Narraverat enim supra Evangelista quia cohortatus est dominus discipulos rogare dominum messis ut mitteret operarios in messem suam; et quod hortatus est, hoc nunc implere videtur.”

[2] See Barclay’s commentary on this passage.

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