July 11, 2019 (Thursday of Week 14 Year B: St Benedict, Abbot)
You received without pay…
Dear friends in Christ, today we celebrate the memorial of St Benedict, Abbot. He was born in Nursia and studied in Rome. He left the city life to become a solitary hermit in Subiaco and his reputation began to grow. He organised various communities of monks and nuns and drew up the rules to guide communal life of monasteries which has proven to be a wise rule and something helpful because even the least perfect and least able are able to follow the rules to spiritual maturity, as it recognises the need for personal growth in a community without false uniformity by an idealistic and authoritarian regime.
In the first reading of today (Genesis 44:18-21.23b-29; 45:1-5) we continue with the story of Joseph which we started yesterday. For all he had gone through and his separation from his father and home, the tales of his brothers brought out the emotional part of him. “Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him; and he cried…” Then he told them, “I am Joseph, Is my father still alive…I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now, do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me here before you to preserve life.” What a wonderful man Joseph was? Here is a great example you can emulate, when God lifts you over and above your enemies, when you surmount the obstacles and challenges others have put in your way, why seek revenge? You should rather be kind to those who seek your ruin. God has put you there to preserve them.
Our gospel reading of today (Matthew 10:7-15) deals with the mission through which God expresses his love to more people. Beyond the mission of Jesus himself, the twelve who had been with him and under his tutelage, now have the chance to go out on their own, to practice what they have learnt. There is the need for more vocations to be able to meet the spiritual needs of the world of our time. Aside vocations to the priesthood and religious life, there is the need to have committed lay faithful as evangelisers who are willing to collaborate with their pastors to continue to further the kingdom of God, as they are able to penetrate even the hidden places that the priests and religious cannot access.
The rules under which they were sent out is still a surprise to many today, “No purse, no bag, no sandals, salute no one on the road.” It is a mission that must be delivered in a haste, there is no time to waste, the disciples were not to spend their time in unnecessary greetings on the way. It is a mission of peace, entering any house therefore their salute will be, “Peace be to this house!” and the message to all, “the kingdom of God has come near you.” Through their mission, salvation is open to all except those who on their own fail to receive the message. The disciples were not to judge them but to dust off their sandals only as a sign of that rejection.
Let us pray: God our Heavenly Father, help us to value the opportunities you have given us and the courage to forgive those who have offended us. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.