We live in a world where almost everything comes at a price. Imagine for a moment what it would be like if the Gospel came with a price tag. Yikes. Even in a world where close to nothing is free, this notion of paying for the Gospel offends our most basic Catholic sensibilities. The Gospel is infinitely valuable yet given completely free of charge. Jesus states this point-blank to his Apostles, telling them, “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” They will demand no payment for their work on mission and travel with no material provisions, relying solely on the generosity of those they encounter. Ultimately, they have nothing concrete to depend upon – no money or clothing or even a walking stick. Nothing, that is, except their trust in the Gospel and in Jesus.
The disciples succeed in their mission, trusting that God is the great, generous giver. God holds nothing back from us, sacrificing his beloved Son and blessing us with the continual presence of the Holy Spirit. God’s gifts require no response. God loves us fully and unconditionally, expecting nothing in return for his blessings.
The Gospel stands in contrast with the reading from the Book of Genesis where Joseph has exacted a price for the grain that they need to feed their families, a price that is devastating in its consequences for these brothers and their father. However, as the emotions build in this story, Joseph is overcome with his feelings of love for his father and his brother Benjamin. He forgives his brothers and even finds a place for them in Egypt. He tells them that God has sent him to Egypt to save lives.
Joseph is a foretaste of the freedom and the life which Jesus will bring into the world through the Gospel. Turning to the Eucharistic table, we see God first-hand – he who laid down his life that we may fully live. Our response to God’s providential and beneficent love is trust in the generosity of God, who guides us on our own mission of sharing the Gospel.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator