The Gospel today shows the stark beginnings of the work Jesus gave his apostles, but it also shows signs of the end of all things.
Jesus sent his apostles out across the land, with walking sticks, the clothes on their backs, and his “authority over unclean spirits,” but with nothing else.
His apostles did three things that hint at the end of all things: they preached repentance or conversion, they “drove out many demons,” and they cured the sick.
At the end of all things, there will also be a new beginning to match these three things the apostles did.
The apostles of Jesus went out preaching repentance across the land.
At the end of all things, the repentant will never sin again, but will freely hold forever to God with unbounded joy, knowledge, and holiness.
The apostles of Jesus went driving out demons across the land.
At the end of all things, all that is evil and demonic will meet final and everlasting defeat.
The apostles of Jesus went out curing the sick across the land.
At the end of all things, all sickly and dead bodies of those faithful to God will rise to newness of health, glory, and life without end.
Here at the celebration of the Lord’s Word and Eucharist, we still have the work Jesus gave his first apostles: striving for conversion, driving off demonic evil, and seeking to save health and life.
This work in the here and now also makes really present all that is to come at the end, because in his Eucharist Jesus says he gives us now the covenant that is new and already EVERLASTING.
Celebrating his Word, his Body and his Blood here and now, we are also to be mindful of the end of all things, and be mindful of the new and everlasting beginning.
In the second reading from the Word of the Lord today is a song about the coming end and the everlasting beginning that we meet here in sacramental signs.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ...
[he] has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
... he chose us in Christ,
before the foundation of the world,
[he chose us] to be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself
through Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise and glory of his grace
that he granted us in the beloved.
In him we have redemption by his blood,
the forgiveness of transgressions,
in accord with the riches of his grace
that he lavished upon us.
It says “we have redemption by his blood.”
The Son of God, who sent his apostles to preach conversion, has himself converted to become a man of flesh and blood.
The Holy One converted so that he could be reckoned as a sinner.
God converted so that he could die among sinners, die in solidarity with sinners, and die for sinners.
He converted unto death.
The he converted death into life.
God rose from the dead still a man, so that he could be the beginning and the door for sinners to convert and rise from the dead into glory as sons and daughters of God.
He converts in his Eucharist, so that we might break his body with our bodies, and shed his blood into our blood, so that by his brokenness and by his wounds we might be healed.
We might be here seeking to be healed of some bodily suffering, or some emotional wound.
Even if we get healing, we will lose it again at the end of all things, if we have not repented, if we have not turned to God and been faithful to him.
It is not that God holds sin against us.
Rather, it is that we hold onto sin.
All the history of suffering, sickness, wounds, and death began with the original sin.
At the end of all things, God will put an end to all suffering, an end to all sickness, an end to all wounds, an end to death— and he will do so by putting an end to all sin.
However, he will not do it for us against our wills.
At the end of all things those who have chosen to hold onto sin, will hold their sin forever, because they have freely chosen to turn away from the giver of mercy, life, goodness and glory.
The end of the second reading from the Word of the Lord today tells us about faith, conversion, and the power that God gives us for everlasting freedom and glory.
In Christ, you:
have heard the word of truth,
the gospel of your salvation,
and have believed in him....
In Christ, you:
were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
which is the first installment of our inheritance
towards redemption as God’s possession,
to the praise of his glory.
Do we want “our inheritance” of everlasting healing, life, and glory?
Then, with the apostles, all the angels and saints, let us join Christ and the Holy Spirit in driving the evil of sin out of our lives, and let us with stark faith turn [repent
] and hold fast to God the giver of mercy and glory.