In these days of Covid-19, I have been invited to few parties, if any. But I always appreciate when people say, “Just bring yourself.” More and more, that is how I read the Gospels when Jesus sends out His disciples to proclaim the good news and drive out demons and cure diseases. In today’s Gospel reading, He says, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic.”
For me, Jesus is saying two things. One, trust in God. Two, the most important thing you can bring to the people in proclaiming the Good News about Me is yourself. I want to heal the people through you, not the things you own or the money you have.
Think about that. Even if we had nothing, Jesus would still want to use us to bring good news and healing to the world. There is a quote from St. Louise de Marillac that expresses this in another way: “To share what one has is nothing if one does not give oneself.”
Jesus is seeking to send us out to give of ourselves to others, as a sign of God’s love in Him. We do this not out of a sense of superiority, but a sense of service. We need not browbeat people, but simply “shake the dust from our feet” if they do not respond.
May we be instruments of God’s healing and messengers of His love, especially as we continue to carry the cross of this pandemic.
Fr. Phil Paxton, C.P., is the local superior of the Passionist Community in Birmingham, Alabama.