Wednesday of week 25 of Ordinary Time – Gospel


Commentary on Luke 9:1-6

As we move on to chapter 9, we have left out a number of stories in chapter 8 – the calming of a storm on the lake, the healing of a demoniac, the raising of Jairus’ daughter and the healing of a woman with a haemorrhage. However, they are dealt with elsewhere in our readings from the other gospels. We are now moving into a turning point in the public life of Jesus and in his relationship with his disciples.

This is, in fact, the third tour of Galilee by Jesus. On the first tour he was accompanied just by the four fishermen he had called first – Peter, Andrew, James and John. On the second all the Twelve were with him and, on the third, he was alone after sending out the Twelve on their own mission.

We begin the chapter today with Jesus sending his chosen Twelve on their mission. It is the first time he has sent them out on their own without his being with them. Basically, they are to do exactly as their Master does. They are given power over evil forces and to heal sicknesses. They are also to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom.

They are to travel in total freedom and so are not to bring anything with them which would make travelling more difficult. No walking staff, or purse, or food, or money, nor even a change of clothing. It is understood that the people will support them in return for the services they render. It is expected that hospitality will be extended to them in the traditional way of the Middle East.

And they are not to be choosy about where they are received; they are to stay in the first house that accepts them. And, in places where they and their message and their services are not welcome, they will shake the dust off their feet. This was a symbolic act which the Pharisees practised when they left an “unclean” Gentile area. In this case, the act signifies that people are not just rejecting the disciples but God himself, Whom they bring with their message and their healing.

And so they went out, from town to town, proclaiming the Good News and restoring people to wholeness wherever they went. It really was the beginning of the Church. And it was the work of making the Kingdom a reality, God’s will being “done on earth”.

The same mission is entrusted to each one of us although it will obviously be adapted to our life situation. We are called, individually and in community, to proclaim the Gospel by word and lifestyle. We are called to help liberate people from the negative forces, addictions of all kinds that can enslave. We are called to be sources of healing and wholeness and for this we do not need to be part of the medical profession. We are called to live lives of simplicity, using only those things which we need for life and work and rejecting all superfluity and luxury. As we have already noted: the really rich are those whose needs are the least. It is a message our consumer world needs to hear and see.

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