‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’
BY: FR. REN LIGERALDE, CJM
Jesus sent seventy-two of his followers, perhaps, as an advanced party. They were commissioned to let the people know three important ministries of Jesus: Meal Ministry, Healing Ministry, and Preaching Ministry.
Meal Ministry: “Eat what is set before you.” Jesus is not a glutton. Yes, we can find in many parts of the Gospel that he eats in many occasions. But it does not mean that he excessively eats. It is not important whether he eats a lot or not but the most important thing is the group of people that he usually dines. He dines with men, women, children, tax collectors, sinners, Scribes, Pharisees, and fishermen. In short, he dines with everybody. He builds community through dining.
Healing Ministry: “cure the sick.” Jesus is full of mercy and compassion that is why whenever he meets a sick person he would stop and cure him/her. He cured/healed Peter’s mother-in-law, the woman with hemorrhage, lepers, blind men, crippled men, and many others. One of the purposes of Jesus’ healing ministry is to bring back to the society/community all the outcasts. We should remember that, in Jesus’ time, all sick people are considered unclean and outcasts. So, to be able to allow the sick to rejoin the community, Jesus ought to heal them first.
Preaching Ministry: “say to them: ‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’” Jesus teaches the people about the kingdom of God and how to journey toward that kingdom. His teachings give hope to the people. He reminds them about the goodness and the faithfulness of God. He encourages them to have an intimate relationship to God.
The first two ministries of Jesus are about the bodily needs of the people while the third is about the spiritual needs. But they all talk about gathering, that is establishing a community. That is, to gather the children of God and bring them back to the arms of God. This might be one of the reasons why Jesus is called the Good Shepherd. He gathers the lamb and even look for the lost sheep.
Jesus came to this world to gather and not to scatter, to build and not to destroy, to give life and not to kill, to save and not to condemn. So, let us rejoice, like the seventy-two, for the constant and unending mission of Christ. Let us continue this mission by our words and actions. Let us be witnesses of Christ redemptive mission through our daily life. Let us ask our Lord, our Leader/Shepherd, to give us the courage and the faith to say yes to him and to the will of God.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd, continue to gather us as your flock. We know that no one will be left out in the feast that you have prepared in your Father’s house. Allow us to continue your mission and give us all the necessary graces we need as we continue our journey. Be with us and forgive us when we fall. Amen.