Text: The Holy Gospel According to Mt. Mark 6:7-13
In the Old Testament there is a passage that speaks to us of the importance of doing things as the "community" of two or more people. Never are we called to do it all alone, but to do the work of God in association with others of like Faith. We are not freelancers, but a people of God in Communion with Jesus Christ and one another, the Body of Christ.
Ecclesiastes 4:8-12 teaches us - "a person who has no one, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, 'For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?' This also is vanity and an unhappy business. Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up. Again, if two lie together, they are warm; but how can one be warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken."
There is throughout the Holy Scriptures the necessity of two or more... "A threefold cord is not quickly broken." And, thusly, there is the sense of necessity that is placed before us for us to go foreword in the work of God the Holy Trinity.
We need each other in the Faith as we work the works of God in a world that does not easily accept the message of Salvation.
Jesus knew this importance of vocations in Community - two by two...
7 And he called to him the twelve, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.
8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts;
9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.
We are not to rely upon our own strength and prowess as we embark upon our journey. We are to rely upon God alone who provides for our every need. We are to have faith in God for our every need. That is the picture of this passage... reliance, dependence, upon God alone.
We are not called to independence. We are called to dependence upon God alone. Thus, the emphasis of this passage that seems so "radical" to us as we read it. But, yes, this is "radical," as it goes to the very "root" of our faith, a faith that seek God alone and relies upon the words of the Lord completely.
May we all experience this dependence upon God alone as we follow Jesus two by two?
10 And he said to them, 'Where you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place.
11 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.'
We should learn from this practice. When the Church was young we practiced this method of itinerancy in preaching the words of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Kingdom of God, to others. When the Church became established, there were different methods employed is caring for the priests and deacons. Here, we have the itinerancy of evangelists as they went into communities and proclaimed the new message of the Gospel to the world, the people of Israel.
They were not to be financial burdens on the people, they were to stay in one place and bless this place with their presence as disciples and apostles of Jesus Christ. Even today we are so bless so often when we house an evangelist for God, one sent on a preaching mission to a local parish.
12 So they went out and preached that men should repent.
13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.
What is our proclamation?
Repentance! This word means to change ones mind and heart 180 degrees and turn to follow Jesus instead of sin or selfish desires.
Men should repent... change our minds through the graces of God and follow Jesus!
Nothing less will do, if we are to be saved or a happy person in the Community of Faith. 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.
The priestly office was being formed and Jesus had sent the apostles out with his authority. The day would come when under all authority, Jesus would send out his apostles in a new way!
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)
On the Day of Pentecost, Mary and the disciples would be gathered in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, and this great empowerment to do the work of God in the world would come in conjunction with the birthday of the Catholic Church.
Men should repent... change our minds through the graces of God and follow Jesus! And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.
Even the demons are subject to the Word of God.
Thus it has been, and continues to be, from the very beginning of the Church.
Through repentance with its sacramental baptism and the sacramental oils of the Church, we are transformed into new creations in Christ Jesus and made partakers of the divine nature.
"Alleluia, May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts that we might see how great is the hope to which we are called... Alleluia."
But, our Blessed Hope comes to us in the Community of Faith, the Holy Eucharist we celebrate. We are never to be alone, because Jesus is with us forever. We are not orphans. We go two by two with Jesus when we go two by two with another child of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Thanks be to God alone.
Grace and peace to you, beloved of God.