THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2014
Today’s gospel: Luke 9:1-6
Jesus empowered the apostles to proclaim the good news. Jesus
“gave them power .... to proclaim the kingdom of God”
(Lk 9:1-2). They were empowered to be witnesses. They were
witnesses of Jesus (sent by him) and were witnesses to Jesus
(to proclaim what he had done for them). As such, everything
is about Jesus.
Jesus is the one who conquered Satan and evil and sin. “He
summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over
all demons” (Lk 9:1a). What Jesus did, he sends his
disciples to do as well. They would engage in spiritual warfare,
in which they were already victorious.
is the one who proclaimed the coming of the Kingdom of God
when he started his public ministry, and is the one who, through
his saving work, brings everyone back to the Kingdom. Jesus
“sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God” (Lk
9:2a). We too as his disciples are sent to witness not only
to Jesus but to what faith in Jesus naturally brings, that
is, entry into the Kingdom. It is about a whole new way of
life that reflects the purity and holiness and fullness that
is fitting to the Kingdom of God.
is the one who heals, who brings wholeness and restoration
to what God originally intended for His creatures. Sin results
in degradation, in debasing, in experiencing the negative
effects of being outside the embrace of God. Thus the world
in darkness experiences poverty, war, and every type of disease
and illness, with moral depravity today resulting in such
serious incurable diseases as HIV/AIDS and resistant STDs.
This is apart from the emotional illnesses that cause depression,
poverty of spirit and even suicide. So Jesus gave his disciples
power “to cure diseases” and sent them “to
heal the sick.” (Lk 9:1b,2b). We too are empowered to
help bring people back to the plan of God, and thus to spiritual
and emotional well-being.
is the one who came poor but provided the riches of the Kingdom.
He came in weakness but was all-powerful. He came as servant
but was King. He was severely maltreated but had a legion
of angels at his command. So Jesus sends us in the same way.
We are not to go as grand princes or regal ambassadors, but
as servants. We often will seem to lack in everything needed
for mission, such as money and time and other resources, but
it is precisely to keep our singular focus on Jesus that we
are so. Otherwise we will end up trusting in our own capabilities,
becoming arrogant and self-sufficient in the process. Thus
Jesus says to us, “Take nothing for your journey”
(Lk 9:3a). We need to be absolutely detached in order to be
completely attached only to Jesus.
“neither walking stick” -- only Jesus is our
support and strength.
sack” -- only Jesus is our provision. In him we have
everything that we need. We do not have to carry baggage
that is of the world.
food” -- only Jesus sustains us physically and nourishes
us. He often will provide miraculously, as in the desert
with the Israelites. He will touch people who will offer
their homes and resources.
house you enter, stay there and leave from there.”
(Lk 9:4). It is the privilege of these people to host a
missionary, thereby hosting Jesus himself.
money” -- if we act accordingly to how Jesus wants
us to act, then he will provide the finances needed for
mission. He owns everything, and is just looking for those
human instruments he can use.
no one take a second tunic” -- we need only be clothed
in righteousness and faithfulness.
Empowerment does not mean “success” in the way
the world understands the term. We will not always make converts.
We will even be rejected. But our concern is to proclaim the
gospel, to give every person the opportunity to hear the good
news. Then they decide whether to accept or not. If they do
not, then “as for those who do not welcome you, when
you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony
against them.” (Lk 9:5). Those who reject the gospel
will reap the dire consequences. Even the dust of that home
or that town will not be worthy to be in your sandal as you
go on with your mission. Disassociate with them and move on.
There is much more work waiting to be done.
they set out and went from village to village proclaiming
the good news and curing diseases everywhere.” (Lk 9:6).
They went on their camino. They systematically went
from place to place, to cover every territory. They went everywhere,
even to the ends of the earth.
have been empowered. Now go and witness.