THOUSANDS THROUGH THE CENTURIES HAVE TAKEN JESUS’ ADVICE LITERALLY
(A biblical refection on THE 15th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – July 12, 2015)
Gospel Reading: Mark 6:7-13
First Reading: Amos 7:12-15; Psalms: Psalm 85:9-14; Second Reading: Ephesians 1:3-14
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)
In our day to day living, we become dependent on material securities, thought to be essential for our routine existence. This is especially noticeable when we get ready to go on a trip and try to decide what to take along. Usually we take too much, trying to anticipate imagined circumstances. Part of the reason for overpacking is that we are reluctant to break out of our established pattern.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the apostles what to take along for the missionary journey. In essence He says to take the treasured message and skip the extras – even essentials like food and money.
Thousands through the centuries have taken His advice literally and abandoned all material securities to live for the Kingdom of God. The most famous was the 13th century Italian, Francis of Assisi. He left behind the plush life for the simple, and thereby amassed a fortune in golden grace and divine love. Nor is the practice limited to Christians. The 20th century Hindu leader, Mahatma Gandhi, did the same and found rewarding peace of mind. Others, for merely practical reasons, have kept their lives uncluttered. Jesus of Nazareth, a poor man Himself, usually catered to the poor, for they trusted in Him. The rich often trusted in their own power and wealth.
Like most Bible directives, this one must be pondered and used as each sees fit. However it is both an ideal and a challenge to our encumbered life style, which can rob us of needed freedom and mobility.
How did the apostles fare, out there on the road with no backup supplies? Quite well! It worked pretty much the way the Lord had predicted. None of them died from exposure, neglect or hunger. In fact, they achieved a high calibre ministry. The Gospel says “they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them” (Mark 6:13).
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, 10 July 2015
A Christian Pilgrim