Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’
Jesus was an itinerant teacher. Today’s Gospel tells us he “went around to all the towns and villages,” teaching, preaching, and healing. One day a man who could not speak was brought to Jesus and Jesus healed him. Notice the responses of the various witnesses: The crowds were amazed. It’s easy to stand back and be amazed. “Do it again, Jesus!” they could cry and when the show was over they could go home entertained but unchanged.
The Pharisees were judgmental. They criticized Jesus, cynically suggesting he was in league with the demons rather than the man he healed.
The man who formerly couldn’t speak was transformed. Whatever demons had plagued him were gone and he found his voice.
What is your default stance when you encounter the power of Jesus: The amazed bystander, the skeptical critic, the one who is willing to let go of the demons and be free?
——Tom McGrath is a spiritual director and the Director of Trade Books at Loyola Press in Chicago. Click here to enjoy Loyola Press’s “31 Days with St. Ignatius,” a month-long celebration of Ignatian spirituality in honor of St. Ignatius’ Feast Day on July 31. Content includes articles, blog posts, and videos to help you learn about and apply the principles of Ignatian spirituality.
Lord, teach me to be generous: teach me to serve you as you deserve—
To give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds;
To toil and not to seek for rest; to labor and not to ask for any reward,
But that of know I do your will.
—St. Ignatius Loyola
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