15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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.
In this selection from the gospel of Mark we are told that Jesus has begun to send out the disciples, two by two, as missionaries into villages and towns to preach the good news of Jesus with the authority over unclean spirits. The simplicity of the directions Jesus has given them is a bit astounding in this modern world.
They are to take nothing but a walking stick — no food, no bag, no money. They are to wear sandals but not a second tunic. No change of clothes. These are simple fishermen but even to them this must have been a rather “bare bones” way to travel. They are to stay only where they are welcome. And they are to preach repentance, for even Jesus, Son of God, could not evangelize the whole world alone.
Like the disciples, we too are missionaries — sent out — to spread the good news. We have been chosen by the fact of Baptism. We are to preach the Gospel by our words, actions and lives. This “mission” is heard in one form of the dismissal at the end of Mass: “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord”.
As we go along in life we begin to understand that accumulating wealth, status and power is not the ticket to a happy or peace-filled life. Clearing out the clutter in our lives to take on the more important values of God is a constant struggle. Consider this week how you may need to do some personal house cleaning to make room and time to focus your life on treasures given by a caring and generous God such as love, compassion, generosity, forgiveness, and kindness.