Gospel Reflection Thursday 14th Week of Ordinary Time (13 July) – The Kingdom of heaven is close
Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Matthew (10: 7-15) in which Jesus, when he sends the disciples out, tells them to take nothing with them. Fr Paul says in today’s Gospel, more than the details, the importance of the instructions lies in their atmosphere: the disciples are to be dependent on the Holy Spirit, not on their own resources. Matthew cuts out having a staff and sandals and he also forbids gold and silver and copper coins. Apostles are to be wholly dependent on the goodwill of those to whom they are sent. Strikingly, the disciples are sent to proclaim not Jesus but the Kingdom of heaven. Keep in mind that Matthew prefers to avoid using the name of God, presumably from Jewish customs of reverence, so instead he uses the name of the residence of God, heaven. All the instructions given by Jesus are reminiscent of the prophecies of Isaiah and others about the messianic era of peace. Like John the Baptist and Jesus himself, the Disciples are to proclaim the imminent end of strife, death, sickness and evil – it is a hope that we all have. Mindful of the instructions in the today’s Gospel, Fr Paul invites us to reflection on these questions – How can I bring others hope? How can I bring others closer to God?