In today’s Gospel reading from Luke, Jesus sends out His disciples on a mission, to tell the people of various towns that Jesus is coming. And in reflecting on this Gospel reading on Morning Air® this week, Bishop Daniel Mueggenborg, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Seattle, pointed out that this mission that Jesus gave His disciples is the mission for us, His disciples, still today.
“It’s certainly an indication that Jesus wants the disciples to carry the mission of the Gospel and prepare the world for Him,” Bishop Mueggenborg said. “And so He is sending out multiple workers into the harvest. That’s a sign of the urgency of the work, it’s a sign of the comprehensive nature of everyone being involved in it. And certainly, it’s a sign of the universal mission of the Church as well.”
In this Gospel, Jesus is very specific about how His disciples are to act and relate to those they meet in the various towns. He gives them the power to bring His peace, to cure the sick, and to exercise authority over demons. But upon the disciples’ return, Jesus reminds them that He did not send them out simply to do mighty works, but to prepare those towns to receive Jesus when He came.
“Disciples are sent out with a very specific purpose of preparing others to meet Jesus,” Bishop Mueggenborg explained. “And so their works of charity, their works at preaching, their works of witness, of building community and bringing peace – all of that is to prepare people to meet Jesus. Those good things that the disciples will do are not ends in themselves. But rather, they are the means of evangelization.”
“Even within our lives today, every authentic corporal work of mercy is always an invitation to faith,” he continued. “Because if we are being an authentic witness of Jesus, then we will be so transparent in being a witness of God’s love in the world that people will want to know about God, who has sent us.”
If it’s difficult to understand what it means to prepare others to meet Jesus, Bishop Mueggenborg offered a helpful example.
“There are so many people who have heard about the work of Mother Teresa. And yet, not all of those people had a chance to meet her,” he said. “But they all know about her, they were all interested in her. And when they heard that she was coming to their town, they came out to meet her for themselves, because they had heard about her and they were prepared to meet her. And in the same way, we should be preparing the world to want to meet Jesus, because of our charity and love for God and neighbor.”
Listen to the full reflection below: