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THE COMPLETE DEDICATION REQUIRED OF A DISCIPLE

Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 10:34-11:1 – FIFTEENTH WEEK OF THE YEAR: Monday, 16 July 2018

Jesus makes a related point in today’s Gospel reading. He ends the missionary sermon by speaking of the complete dedication required of a disciple in very severe terms. The language in strong and total. Just a prayer is not a separate track but an expression of our lives, so “dedication” is not a certain thing or set of “things” we do but a way of doing everything else. Dedication is functionally an adjective rather than a noun. Our spiritual life, then, is not simply a collection of isolated prayerful moments in our daily schedule. It is a way of living.

We must take care not to let our spiritual life and our “real life” drift apart. Keeping the together is the mark of an adult and practiced Christian.

Jakarta, 16 July 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

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MATTHEW 5:6 [KJV]

Jakarta, 16 July 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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MARK 2:27 [CSB]

Jakarta, 15 July 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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JESUS CALLED THE TWELVE: 15th ORDINARY SUNDAY [YEAR B] – Mark 6:7-13

Jakarta, 15 July 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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THEY CAST OUT MANY DEMONS, AND ANOINTED WITH OIL MANY THAT WERE SICK AND HEALED THEM

THEY CAST OUT MANY DEMONS, AND ANOINTED WITH OIL MANY THAT WERE SICK AND HEALED THEM

(A biblical refection on THE 15th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME [YEAR B] – July 15, 2018)

 

Gospel Reading: Mark 6:7-13 

First Reading: Amos 7:12-15; Psalms: Psalm 85:9-14; Second Reading: Ephesians 1:3-14 

The Scripture Text

And He called to Him the twelve, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. And He said to them, “Where you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. And if any place will not receive you and they refuse to hear you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet for a testimony against them.” So they went out and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them. (Mark 6:7-13 RSV)

The story in today’s Gospel begins with Jesus sending the apostles out in pairs to preach and to heal. There were probably two reasons why Jesus did not want the apostles to go out alone.

Cities were far apart and a person going from one city to the next journeyed over long stretches of desert roads that were not heavily travelled. This meant that anyone foolish enough to embark on a journey by himself was an easy prey for the many gangs waiting in ambush to rob and beat those who came along.

There was also a Jewish law which said a judge could not find an accused person guilty if there was only one witness to the alleged offense. The purpose of this law was to protect an innocent person from a neighbor or acquaintance who might make up a story for revenge or blackmail. Therefore, under no circumstances could a judge consider the testimony of only one person sufficient.

The Jews applied the above mentioned law not only in cases involving someone’s guilt or innocence, but also in other everyday matters as well. If Jesus had sent out the apostles individually to testify that the reign of God was indeed here, they would have covered twice as many cities but the people who heard them could have challenged their testimony because the required second witness would not have been present. They would have questioned if what the apostles were saying was fact or fiction. By going out in pairs, the apostles verified each other’s testimony and those who heard would have accepted it as the truth.

The Gospel story ends with the apostles expelling demons and anointing the sick with oil. Ancient people used oil as a symbol of healing and strength. Athletes rubbed it all over their bodies before competing in sporting events and doctors prescribed it for a variety of illnesses. Today, many Christian denominations continue to use blessed oil for sacraments and prayer. This oil is symbolic of the spiritual strength and the spiritual healing Jesus gives us through the Christian community in our time of need.

For personal reflection: Jesus told the apostles not to stay where they were not welcome. Do those who visit your church feel welcome by your parish community? How can you make them feel more at home?

(Adapted from Jerome J. Sabatowich, Cycling Through the Gospels – Gospel Commentaries for Cycles A, B, and C, pages 186-187.)

Short Prayer: Lord Jesus, we pray that You will continue to call Your disciples/followers of today to preach the Gospel and for those whom You call, that they will respond wholeheartedly. We thank You, Jesus, for letting each and every one of us to share in some way in the works of Your mission. Amen.

Jakarta, 14 July 2018 

A Christian Pilgrim 

 

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COURAGE UNDER PERSECUTION

Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 10:24-33 – FOURTEENTH WEEK OF THE YEAR: Saturday, 14 July 2018 

Jesus speaks of the real danger that faces us as being much more disastrous than physical harm. Spiritual crisis can be fatal because it can erode whatever source of hope we might have to repair our lives. The real threat to our fundamental well-being is a person who can rob us of our faith, our hope and our capacity to love others. Skepticism, cynicism and agnosticism can be more fatal than any physical danger.

In the middle of our political or economic difficulties, the greatest hope remain spiritual ones.

Jakarta, 14 July 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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REVELATION 3:20b

Jakarta, 14 July 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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