So they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them.
Jesus sent the Twelve out to preach the Good News, the Good News of the Gospel. And that Good News is a call to repentance.
This not what we think of usually as Good News. Good news is the surprise lottery win, the announcement of a birth or a marriage, being given the all clear, the result of the match, the winning of the prize, the success in examinations or a job interview. And in all these, notice, for all our efforts beforehand, Good News is something that happens to us, it is gift, it is grace.
Yet here, in this Gospel the message is one of repentance, contrition, sorrow for sins. It is something we have to do, and something which is painful - to admit our own fault, to confess our sins, to acknowledge our failures, our impatience, our dishonesty, our unkindnesses and cruelties. It might be necessary - but how can this be a message to preach. How can this be Gospel? How can this be Good News?
Well it can - it is - of course it is - because what the Twelve are sent out to preach with such urgency is not the wickedness of the world, but greatest of God’s mercy. They move from house to house and place to place rapidly, wasting no time with those who do not want to here because they are there not to condemn but to give the offer of a Great Gift, the Gift of Forgiveness which is freely given by God to everyone who embraces it, and this gift heals minds and hearts, casts out anxiety and soothes infirmity.
And all we need to do to receive this great gift of God - is to acknowledge that we need it.