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Bulletin: June 18, 2023

In today's Gospel, Jesus shares his mission to proclaim the kingdom of heaven with his disciples. The signs of the kingdom's presence consist of the work that Jesus has already been doing: the sick are cured, lepers are cleansed, demons are driven out, and the dead are raised to life. The disciples are sent to continue doing the work that Jesus has begun. This is a moment of transition in Matthew's Gospel. The focus has shifted from the ministry of Jesus to the work of the community that he has inaugurated. More than any other Gospel, Matthew's Gospel elaborates on the work of the Church, which is to continue after Jesus' death and resurrection.

The Gospel reports that Jesus commissions twelve disciples. Many scholars believe that the twelve disciples symbolize the twelve tribes of Israel. It designates, therefore, continuity between Israel and the Church.

Matthew lists the names of the twelve disciples, as do Mark and Luke. Matthew also uses the word apostle when referring to the Twelve. The word apostle means “one who is sent.” In this context, Matthew is calling attention to the mission that the twelve disciples are being given. They are sent by Jesus to proclaim the kingdom of heaven in word and deed.

As Jesus sent his disciples to continue his work and mission, so too the Church is sent by Jesus. The Church is his continuing presence on earth. Every member of the Church is sent by Jesus to contribute to this mission.

Courtesy of Loyola Press

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