15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 15, 2018
In this Sunday’s gospel (Mark 6:7-13), the disciples have been with Jesus for some time. First they were called and said yes. Then they listened to Jesus. Then, they were sent out on a mission. We, too, are called by the Lord: we respond and say yes to him; we listen to his words at Mass and are fed by his Body and Blood. Then we, too, are sent out on a mission: to witness to Jesus by our lives: our words and deeds.
The disciples are told to take nothing for the journey except a walking staff (a symbol of their authority from Christ). They are going to have to be dependent on God’s providence for everything. As created beings, we depend on God for everything we have and all that we are, whether we are aware of it or not. Self-sufficiency is in the end an illusion. Sometimes our daily mission seems to be too much for us, but God wants us to depend on him and not just rely on our own resources.
They are sent out two by two: we are meant to support each other. This is why we belong to a faith community like Saint Edward; a Christian is not just a church of one. We are called on by God to provide encouragement for each other. Sometimes the support we offer is service of some kind; other times by being a face that others expect to see on Sunday. We encourage each other by our presence.
Take no traveling bag: Learning to travel light is an art. We often tend to want to have all our bases covered, to have our act together at every moment, when in reality this kind of attitude can block God’s providence for us. Christ is not just talking about acquiring too much “stuff,” but rather to learn, more and more to trust in God’s providence in our lives. He will always provide what is best for us if we trust him. This will take place in the present moment, the here and now where all grace resides.
Take no money in your belts: This sounds inconvenient, but anyone who has had a lost or stolen wallet knows how scary it can be to suddenly have nothing. Jesus is counseling us not to have a false sense of security by relying only on our own possessions, wits or wealth. When we find ourselves at our wits end or with insufficient resources, this is the time when the Holy Spirit can often manifest with the greatest power in our lives.
Wear only one tunic: In other words, don’t show one face to God and another to everyone else. Aim to be a person of integrity, not someone who changes his or her clothes, or morality, to fit the situation!