Gospel – Mark 6:7-13

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey
but a walking stick—
no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals
but not a second tunic.
He said to them,
“Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave.
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet
in testimony against them.”
So they went off and preached repentance.
The Twelve drove out many demons,
and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

Reflection on the Gospel

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

What is most striking is that Jesus sends the Twelve out on mission “two by two.” He sends them in pairs. There are no lone rangers, but companions who engage in mission and ministry together. This is important today as it builds in accountability and support and works to undermine the “personality cult” that can become the bane of church communities.

And what is their mission?

Jesus sends them as ordinary, poor missioners, charged to live in simplicity and to proclaim the gospel of repentance and healing of mind and body. And there is no mention of a “cappa magna” among their equipment. They are simple followers of Jesus doing what he did, as he shared his mission with them.

Like Amos, Jesus and his disciples were not part of the official royal establishment. They had no official civil or religious license for their ministry. They were ordinary workers who were called to be God’s mouthpiece and to speak the truth in freedom. That probably did not win them honors or friends in high places. Historically, Christian faith is most often compromised when it works hand-in-glove with secular power.

The opening passage of Ephesians is a lyrical prayer of blessing describing the real, spiritual wealth of the faithful disciples, their intimacy with the God of blessing.

John L. Bostwick, O.Praem., was a member of St. Norbert Abbey, a spiritual director and an adjunct instructor in theology at St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin. He entered eternal rest in late 2018.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts – Forever.