“As you go, proclaim the Good News, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.” (Matthew 10:7-8)
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus says, “Preach as you go” meaning that our very lives are loud sermons. Everything we do from dusk to dawn is preaching. Even what we do in secret is preaching. When we let our light shine by good works, we are preaching. When our actions betray our values and what we stand for, we are also preaching (even though negatively).
Preaching goes beyond words. It is freeing people from the darkness and from bondage be it, ignorance, sickness, sinfulness or even demonic possession. Words are not enough. Actions are needed. Hence Jesus added, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons.” When we visit the sick, when we pray with people going through difficulties, we are also preaching.
Preaching liberates. It changes lives. Knowledge is power. One good sermon can transform a person’s life forever. There is a tendency to appreciate the preacher for his/her sacrifice. In the words of Jesus, “a labourer deserves his food.” Encouraging good work ensures its continuity.
Nevertheless, to avoid monetary rewards taking the place of God in the heart of the labourer, Jesus warns: “You receive without pay, give without pay. Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper, no bag, no two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff.” In other words, even when people do not support, God always has a way of providing for the labourer.
Hosea in today’s first reading speaks about the love of God for Israel and the fact that despite how much Israel as a nation has prostituted itself before Baal, God’s love remained steadfast. God instructed Hosea to take for a wife a woman of easy virtue. And each time she left him, God told Hosea to bring her in once again. Hosea’s very life became a testament of God’s undying love for the nation of Israel.
Ordinarily, no human being would return to such a woman but in His great mercy, God says: “my heart recoils within me, my compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute my fierce anger… for I am God and not a man… and I will not come to destroy.”
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, may my very life preach a gospel that is pleasing to your ears. Amen.
Bible Study: Hosea 11:1-9, Psalm 80:2-16, Matthew 10:7-15).