Thursday of week 4 of Ordinary Time – Gospel


Commentary on Mark 6:7-13
 

We now reach a new stage in the formation of Jesus’ disciples. There was a calling of

the first disciples to be “fishers of people”, then the choosing of twelve who would share in the very work of Jesus. Now the Twelve, the foundation of the future community, are being sent out to do exactly the same work that Jesus has been doing.

They have been given authority over unclean spirits, they preach repentance – that radical conversaion (metanoia, metanoia) to the vision of the Kingdom, anointing the sick with oil and healing them. Notice that these three activities cover the whole person: spiritual, mental and physical. Healing and wholeness, health and holiness. To be holy is to be whole.

They are instructed to travel lightly, bringing only what they absolutely need. No food or money or even a change of clothes. They will not need these things because they will be taken care of by the people they serve. They are to stay in the first house that takes them in. Overall, they are to show total dependence on and trust in God. This is freedom at its best. A model repeated by many saints and founders of religious congregations. (One thinks of such disparate cases as St Ignatius Loyola, Mother Teresa, the community in the book The Cross and the Switchblade.)

Do we really need all the baggage we carry through life? As someone has said: Those are really rich whose needs are the least. That is what Jesus is teaching us. And, of course, he was a living example.

The disciples went off and did the three central works of Jesus:

– They proclaimed the Kingdom and called for a radical change of heart from people so that they might see life in the way that Jesus, the Son of God, was proclaiming.

– They liberated many people from evil influences and compulsions. Freedom is of the essence of Christian discipleship.

– They anointed the sick with soothing oil and brought them healing and wholeness.

They not only preached the Kingdom; they made it a reality in people’s lives.

This is what we too are all called to do within the circumstances of our life. Having little but giving much.

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