The Gospel according to Mark (6: 7-13)
He 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 from there. 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. They drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
Opening Prayer: Lord, as I come into your presence, open my heart to experience your love for me. Let me hear your voice, so personal, so constant in my life, as I read this Scripture which you desire to be living and active in my life. Reveal your heart to me. I offer all and surrender all to you, whatever may happen in this time of prayer. Whatever you will Lord, as long as you want and however you want. No matter how I come now to this time of prayer, I want you to know I am here because I love you. You are the most important thing to me, and this prayer time is the most important thing I could do today. Bless my poor efforts with the gift of yourself. Here I am Lord; speak to me.
Encountering Christ: A few years ago some friends and I decided to go on the pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela or The Way of Saint James. This was an opportunity of a lifetime. We would travel on foot carrying all our belongings and stay at albergues (hostels) along the way. As we planned our trip we developed a VERY comprehensive packing list of all the essentials a pilgrim would need. The night before we left I packed my backpack and soon found out I did not have enough room. Some items would have to be left behind. The first night of our pilgrimage, when we unpacked our belongings, we again realized we had too much. This reassessing what was “necessary” and subsequent purging of items happened a few more times. We obviously did not know what we were doing, but we learned.
In today’s gospel Jesus sends his twelve apostles out on a pilgrimage of mercy, healing, and charity. They were to travel light, unlike the aforementioned rookies, and rely on the generosity of strangers. However, he did not send them unprepared. They went in pairs and with authority over unclean spirits. Their master asked them to do what he had been doing. And that is exactly what they did.
I wonder what was going through their minds when Jesus gave them their instructions? Maybe they thought, “No way, we can’t perform miracles like him!” And “We have to take more stuff if we are going to survive this trip.” Or maybe they thought, “I trust him, I believe in him, I will try my best and we will see what happens.
So they went and they did exactly that, they trusted and did their best. And look what happened. They healed, cured, and delivered the message of repentance that leads to redemption. And redemption leads to grace. And grace is all we need.
Their needs we more than taken care of. Their mission was more than a success. They cooperated with the grace of God, at the direction of Jesus, and came back with more that what they gave and much more than what they left with. There is one lesson that we are reminded of often when we cooperate with the grace of God and serve, we cannot out give God. It is just not possible for it is in giving that we receive.
So, pack light, listen to the instructions and encouragement of Jesus who sends us out, not alone, but with others both physically and in spirit to deliver the good news and to offer the healing touch of redemption.
Closing Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to trust you and let go of our expectations of how things should go. When we rely on your word and trust that you will provide for our needs we can focus on the work we are called to do to further your kingdom. If you provide for the sparrow you will provide for us.
Action for the Day: See what you can let go of to lighten your load so that you may better serve those who in need of the healing touch of Christ through your kindness and concern.