You can see all the lectionary readings for the Proper 6, Year A by clicking here. I have chosen to discuss the passage from the Gospel of Matthew from Track 2.
Today’s reading begins with Jesus doing his work, traveling around, teaching, preaching, and healing people. I especially like this part:
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
So many of us today need that compassion. We are harassed and helpless, looking for leadership, sometimes following the wrong people instead of Christ.
Jesus sends out his twelve disciples with some pretty strict instructions and a pretty demanding set of tasks:
As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.
They are also sent only to the Jewish towns to minister to their own people at this point. As we know from the story of the Ascension, they will eventually be sent out to the whole world, but for now they are only reaching out to gather in their own people and save and minister to them.
These instructions could also be useful for Christians today. Start in your own backyard and later move on to serving the whole world. And make your focus healing and caring for people, as well as proclaiming the good news. There’s no need to get bogged down in anything else. If you start to get bogged down, it’s time shake the dirt off your sandals and move right along and keep sharing the love of Christ.