Supernatural optimism: counting on God and his power

When Jesus sends his disciples on their first apostolic mission, he tells them: Take neither gold, nor silver, nor money in your purses, nor a bag for the journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for he who works deserves his living. He urges them to go forth without delay to the fulfillment of their labor. And so that, from the beginning, they may learn to rely on supernatural means, he takes from them all human help.

Thus the Apostles go forth -with nothing- so that it may be seen that the healings, the conversions, the miracles they perform are not theirs; that their human qualities are not enough for people to be ready to receive the Kingdom of God. They should not worry about lacking material goods and extraordinary human qualities; whatever is lacking, God will provide it in the necessary measure.

This holy audacity is repeated again and again in every apostolate: how many great things have been undertaken without the most indispensable human means! This is how the saints have acted. They knew well that "Christ, sent by the Father, is the source and origin of every apostolate in the Church. When the Christian is persuaded of what God wants, he should stop only at what is indispensable to make an account of the means at his disposal. "In apostolic undertakings it is good - it is a duty - to consider your earthly means (2 + 2 = 4), but never forget that you must count, fortunately, on another sum: God + 2 + 2 + 2...".

We can draw the same teaching from the First Reading of today's Mass, which takes up the words of Gamaliel, St. Paul's teacher, to the Sanhedrin, advising them what to do with the Apostles. After recalling some examples of purely human initiatives - the insurrections of Theudas and Judas the Galilean - which failed with the death of their promoters, he adds: In the present case, my advice is this: Do not meddle with these men; let them go. If this design or this work is the work of men, they will disperse; but if it is the work of God, you will not succeed in dispersing them, and you would expose yourselves to fight against God10. Our security and optimism in working for God are based on the fact that He does not abandon us. Si Deus pro nobis, quis contra nos? -If God is with us, who can be against us?

Always counting on God in the first place is a good sign of humility. The Apostles learned this well and put it into practice in their evangelizing work after the Resurrection. Who is Apollos? Who is Paul? Ministers of Him in whom you have believed. I planted, Apollos watered, but it is God who has given the increase, St. Paul will say.

Nevertheless, the Lord will also ask us to put all the human means at our disposal, as if the whole success of the enterprise depended on it.