What is wrong with this picture?


What is wrong with this picture?

The Gospel reading this Sunday is confusing for me at first glance. Why would Jesus tell the disciples not to go to everyone to share His message? I thought that was the whole point. Hadn’t Jesus come to save all people? It just feels counter-intuitive. Jesus tells his disciples to go to the lost sheep of Israel, but nowhere near the Gentiles or the towns of the Samaritans. I tend to be a bit scrappy; I often look at the thing that doesn’t feel right and fixate on it. We know that Christianity eventually grows in the communities Jesus appears to turn away from. So what is this all about? Well, if I would take some time to calm down and read further, I may learn the answer. My dad used to get irritated with me when we watched shows together, and I would ask questions before the plot had even been developed. He would tell me I might hear the answer if I just listened. That may be a good idea in this case as well. lol

The next thing Jesus does is tell the 12 to go and work among the faithful and share the good news with them. Again, what is wrong with this picture; why do they need to preach to those already practising their religion? Shouldn’t they be trying to spread the word to those that have never heard about God, those that wouldn’t know how to live in a way that would get them to heaven? Ok, I’ll keep reading and maybe even go back. Now I see it; he sent the disciples to the lost sheep—the lost sheep; ahhhhhhhh. So, we can be faithful people and still lose our way.

Maybe this is the piece I was missing. Of course, believing doesn’t mean we are perfect, but I find this very telling. This tells me things don’t seem very different from 2000 years ago. It tells me that as human beings, we struggle with following doctrine, living in community, and our relationship with God. We continue to have our demons, we continue to treat people poorly, and we continue to view the world negatively. If this is the case, how can we go out and witness to those who don’t know God? This is starting to sound like a story about getting our house in order before we start trying to influence others.

Now we can look to the Second reading to help understand. Here we read that it is through Jesus’ death that we are reconciled to God, but only by his witness can we truly be saved. As baptized people, we have been given the key. Eternal life is available to us, but we must do some work. And it isn’t enough to follow the rules or ensure everyone sees us at church. We must be as compassionate with others as God has been with us. This isn’t possible until we have done the necessary work on ourselves. Jesus points us to look inward so that we can look out into the world to love others and share the Good News.

Like the Jewish people of 2000 years ago, we must remember that being faithful is demonstrated through our relationships. Our private faith life is essential; however, everything we do affects our community, whether it appears to involve others or not, it does. And so, let us get our houses in order so we can go out and live our lives and share with those outside our community and maybe even in other towns.

By Serena Shaw
Vocation Team – Oblate Associate
Phone: (780) 231-3066
Email: serenashaw641@gmail.com