July 11, 2018
(St. Benedict of Nursia, Abbot)
Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. . . . He said, “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” Mt_10:1-7
The apostles had two directives: 1. To cure physical and spiritual ailments and 2. To proclaim the Good News of Jesus.
If you ever went to a technical school, a nursing school or even a med school, after some years of training, practice with one another and close observation of your teachers, you would eventually have to take that step to “do it on your own.” They call it practicum or residency. Or in my undergrad training we had COOP. It was our first solo flight on the job. And yet, it was still on kind-of a trial basis. The light jobs, the easy customers.
Today Jesus is sending his select few disciples, the 12-Apostles, out on their first practicum. It was a missionary trip. They were given clear instructions as to what they were supposed to do and how they were supposed to speak. They were instructed to go only to the Jewish people, because those people would know exactly what the “Kingdom of Heaven” meant. And they would be able to make the tie that linked the Kingdom and the healing together. The lesson would show the people, by the example of the Apostles and by their hospitality and words, that the long-awaited time of their salvation was finally at hand. Their long-awaited Savior, Jesus, was actually among them.
And if the Apostles experienced difficulties on their journeys, Jesus gave them escape plans as well. You see, just like any earthly endeavor, be it a crafty hobby or a professional occupation, there are always glitches. And in the case of these new missionaries, there would be the unbelievers, there would be scoffers and there would be temptations even to themselves. Temptations to quit. Temptations to strike back. Temptations to leave Jesus all together.
And that’s why Jesus didn’t send them out all by themselves, but in groups, in community to support each other against attacks by the evil of the world.
The Prophet Hosea also fought the evil in his world, through the Words of God Himself.
And our revered saint of the day, St. Benedict, followed in the footsteps of Jesus, by organizing monastic communities, that today we call the Benedictine order. Benedictines all over the world pray for our healing. They pray in exorcism of evil. And they help lead us closer to Jesus, as we seek His Face and live His Kingdom in our own communities of His Love!