Last weekend, we had the honor of a missionary speaking to us.  I also shared in my column the call some have to be missionaries.  This week, young missionaries from our parish are volunteering to go forth and help others who need it.

Our gospel gives suggestions on how to travel, and what to take.  The first instruction for those who are sent: take a friend.  While we are never alone as long as Christ is with us, it’s good to have a friend on the road.  Friends can strengthen us, and keep us accountable.  Drawing close to Christ draws us near to our neighbors.

Jesus also warns of dangers on the road ahead, but he does not send them out with worldly protection.  They are not relying on money or whatever fits in a sack (cellphone charger?)

What are they offering?  It’s not a call to penance.  It’s not a call to conversion.  First, they offer peace.  They’re not looking for a fight, or an argument, or a victory.  When they find food, they should be “at peace” with that as well.  Contentment seems to be a part of their witness, even when life is difficult.

Then they show that “the kingdom of God is at hand for you” through their service, by curing the sick.  While the church has a long history of miracles, efforts in evangelization often built schools and hospitals and strove hard to meet community needs.

Lastly, the missionaries return!  And we hear they are very excited.  I hope our young missionaries are likewise empowered.  Yet Jesus cautions them not to be so excited because of success.  After all, not every effort in life meets with success.  Rather Jesus encourages them to rejoice because of their connection to life in heaven.

Peace ~ Fr. Dan