Resistance is Fertile –
Jesus sends the disciples to see the Gospel in action.
Urban communities in Britain in these days have been abandoned by government and the economic powers. They are at the mercy of relentless attacks on life and hope. Where resistance is seen it has to be proclaimed. Where mutuality and common hopes are expressed they must be affirmed and rejoiced in. Where lies are told about the poor they must be challenged.
At this point in Matthew the shape of the Kingdom has been declared, and has been witnessed in healings and the restoration of people on the margins. Jesus sends the twelve into the villages to carry on the work begun and to see how, in the lives of the ordinary peasants, the Kingdom is already visible. The Kingdom is waiting to be discovered.
The life of the covenant is seen among the lost sheep of the House of Israel. They are lost because the rulers have scattered them and abandoned them. Despite the fact that they are God’s own people they have been left at the mercy of “wolves” – those bureaucrats and retainers intent on extracting everything possible for the sake of the rulers, the absentee landowners, and the Romans.
Jesus is clear then that God speaks from the margins. He understands the need evangelisation by the poor. This sending out of the disciples is a mission only in the sense of a call to discover the life of God in the poor – the peasant communities of the “little tradition”. The disciples are not taking the gospel, they are finding it.
However, the warnings are explicit. Communities of resistance will be treated harshly, even at the cost of their own lives.
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