Homily by Fr. Paul Plante
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 13, 2003
Scriptural Reference: Mark 6:7-13
When I read the Gospel passages about Jesus telling his disciples what to do, it always causes me to wonder to what extent, we, the disciples of Jesus many centuries later are still trying to do what Jesus told us to do.
In the advice Jesus gives his disciples in today’s short Gospel, do we find something to think about? Do we identify what we are doing as matching Jesus’ recommendations?
First of all, Jesus sends them out two by two. This is much more important than first meets the eye. The work of Jesus – ministry is not something we do on our own. We are sent out by Jesus – by the Church. It is essentially a communal effort, not a one person show or act. If there is one way that the passage of Jesus is distorted, that the mission and unity of the Church are disrupted, it is by individuals doing their thing – as good as it may seem to them – rather than the work of the community of faith. This is as true for the Pope or a Bishop as it is for you and me.
Being sent rather than sending ourselves and being in communion with others – the two by two part of the recommendations are meant to maintain unity, to assure charity, to be fostering community.
This of course is always in regards to the essentials of the message of Jesus – matters of faith such as what we believe about God, Jesus, salvation, the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, the dignity of life, the love we owe one another.
Even in the unity of faith and community implied by Jesus, there are many decisions to be made that need creative thinking and end up with a great variety of ways to better accomplish what Jesus wants us to to do.
How all of this is played out in concrete situations and times may actually be seen in the way Jesus tells them what to take and what not to take as they venture out. A walking stick – yes. Food, a sack, money – no. Sandals – yes. An extra tunic – no.
What is necessary for the mission? What is not? That will vary – 2000 years later what is necessary to proclaim and perpetuate the mission of salvation? We have to reflect – sort things out – decide what we need – get rid of what we do not need – depend on the spirit of Jesus in the community of faith, not just in the individuals to assist us in deciding yes to this – no to that.
May we sense that Jesus is as real and close to us now as when he summoned and sent the twelve. May we be ready to do whatever it takes for the mission of Jesus to continue through us as it did through his first disciples.