Without Cost You Have Received; without Cost You Are to Give
Homily for Thursday Of the 14th Week in Ordinary Time
I certainly have an emotional attachment to the Gospel that was proclaimed today. I am sure that I have told you before that this was the Gospel passage that was proclaimed at my first Mass of Thanksgiving the Sunday after my ordination. In the mid-1970s when we were creating fabric banners and silk-screening liturgical worship aids, one quotation from this Gospel provided a theme for that Mass. The translation has changed, but the thought is the same: “Without cost you have received, without cost you are to give.” These words of Jesus, in the midst of a kind of “deployment checklist” for the Apostles as they prepare for their mission, stand out for a number of reasons.
First, they prescribed the interior, personal disposition the Apostles must have – a spiritual mindset rather than an exterior item they must or must not carry or an action they must or must not take. Second, it connects the Apostles’ past with their future in a way that no other verse in this passage does.
Jesus is sending out his disciples to minister and to perform miraculous works of physical and spiritual healing. For this he essentially sends them with nothing physical. Therefore, having the proper interior, spiritual mindset will be essential. They will be going on mission in Jesus’ name, not their own. All that they are, all that they have, and all that they have received in their call to follow Christ is through God’s pure gift. Therefore, everything they do must also be freely given.
“Without cost you have received, without cost you are to give.” This imperative can center us, remind us of who and whose we are, and where we are going. Like the apostles, we are reliant on God for everything. We are recipients of God’s priceless generosity and mercy. We, too, have the opportunity to share that generosity and mercy in a world desperate for both.