Amos 7:12-15; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13
Carry Nothing but the Word
Is it fear that prompts us to rely on modern technological advances in communication? An interesting question, perhaps. Are we too afraid to rely on the gift of memory? Is this the “power” referred to in the passage from Mark’s gospel?
Mark writes of the power conferred by Jesus on those he sent out. But along with the power he gave them, he also instructed them on how important it was not to be restricted by unnecessary ‘baggage’.
No extra tunic, one pair of sandals; little, presumably, in the way of food or money.
Gen 49:29-33; 50:15-24; Mt 10:24-33
Today’s scriptures are an interesting mix. They are about some interesting relationships. Parents, children, siblings, God, disciples and Christ. You really have to pay attention to what is being said. In Genesis, the continuing sordid story of Jacob, Joseph and the wicked brothers. The psalmist speaks of the sons of Jacob as “his chosen ones!” Chosen ones? And in Matthew, Jesus encourages his disciples. He assures his followers that God loves and is watching over them. Yet He closes with a stern warning about denying Christ.
Genesis 46:1-7, 28-30; Matthew 10:16-23
There is a marked contrast in today’s readings. In the first reading, Jacob is reunited with Joseph, his missing son. Jacob’s life is now complete, and he can die contentedly. Joseph has accomplished his mission of saving his family, the eventual Chosen People.
In the Gospel reading, Matthew is beginning his Missionary Discourse. After gathering his twelve disciples and missioning them to preach, exorcise, and heal the people of Israel, Jesus warns of hostility toward their efforts. He points out that there will be trials, divisions and betrayals within families, hatred and persecution. Tough stuff!
Jesus’ instructions to his apostles as he sends them on the road are amazing. On the one hand, he sends them endowed with great power, able to drive out unclean spirits and to cure every disease and every illness, even to cleanse lepers and raise the dead. On the other hand, they are to go about this mission in a most vulnerable way: they are to take no money or backpack, to walk those rocky roads of Palestine without sandals (!) or walking stick. Food is not mentioned in Matthew’s version of the instruction, but since they are told to stay where people receive them, presumably they are to depend entirely on the hospitality (room and board) of those who take them in. Since they are told to combine their healing activity with the proclamation, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand,” the healing and the deliverance from evil spirits is apparently a demonstration of the presence of God’s end-time Reign present right there in their midst.
In today’s gospel, we see Jesus sending out his closest twelve disciples to spread his message: the Kingdom of God is at hand. He sends them to do the critical work of evangelizing and healing. Drive out unclean spirits and cure every disease. He gives them “authority” over unclean spirits.
Seriously? Did he check their resumes? These are not men who are powerful leaders.
I am sure Jesus the man must have been overwhelmed sometimes at the numbers of people who sought him out and at the extent of their suffering. Today’s Gospel tells us that his “heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned.” We all feel that way sometimes. Lost. Wandering. Vulnerable. And you can bet that if you feel that way, others do too. Jesus says there is a need for more laborers for the harvest. He can’t do it all. We all must play a part in the community that is our faith. We can’t just wait for someone else to do it.
After a long time of interval, with great joy Procura Generale welcomed a group of priests and Bishops from Gdansk Archdiocese in Poland, among them were Archbishop Msgr. Tadeusz Wojda, SAC, auxiliary Bishops Wiesław Szlachetka and Zbigniew Zieliński. In the archdiocese the Pallottine Missionary Sisters have one of their largest community of our Congregation.
Psalm 91:1-2, 3-4, 14-15AB
“Know that I am with you; I will protect you wherever you go,” God tells Jacob and his descendents. And Jacob responds with a vow of faith and trust in God as he journeys through a life of uncertainty. Jacob’s story is our own. God does not promise to be with us in a life of certainties. Indeed, the Psalms reveal there is never a dull moment in the lives of the faithful. God’s people are always in danger, distress, despair, and denial, to name just a few of our predicaments. We aren’t promised a life devoid of challenges and chaos. We are instead promised refuge, rescue, relief, and renewal. This dynamic and exciting relationship is not as risky a lifestyle as some might think. It doesn’t mean we are always walking a tightrope or engaging in daring death defying acts like an action adventure hero. But God’s people are a specially challenged population. We are called to a faith that is professed in trust. It takes courage to activate trust.
Ez 2,2:5; 2 Cor 12:7-10; Mk 6:1-6
Recognizing Jesus Christ
Today’s gospel describes what happened when Jesus went home to preach the gospel. Put simply, it was a disaster. The people recognised Jesus. They recognised Jesus’ wisdom. They even recognised that Jesus worked miracles. In sum, they managed to recognise a great deal of truth in Jesus’ preaching. However, instead of accepting Jesus’ message because of that evidence the people rejected Jesus because they knew Jesus’ background. The people recognised Christ as the son of a carpenter and then they concluded that they shouldn’t listen to him. Perhaps they thought Jesus should have stuck to carpentry. We just don’t know. Whatever the case they couldn’t or wouldn’t get past what they already knew about Christ to what else there might be to learn from him.
Ephesians 2:19-22; John 20:24-29
"I'll never believe it without probing the nailprints in his hands, without putting my finger in the nailmarks and my hand into his side."
"You became a believer because you saw me. Blest are they who have not seen and have believed."
All of us have been "doubting Thomases" at one time or another in our lives. Thomas had an "excuse" for his dis-belief: he didn't see it. The evidence wasn't there. We've all been there. For Thomas then, for us now, it is easy to fall into the simple error of thinking, "Seeing is believing." By God's grace, we come to a real faith - based not on evidence, but on a gifted experience.
By Marinus ven Reymerswaele
What if. . .
. . . doctors only saw the healthy?
. . . dentists only saw those with the perfect smile?
. . . counselors only saw the happy and well adjusted?
. . . universities only admitted the educated?
. . . glasses were only given to those with perfect sight?
. . . if Jesus only came for the righteous?
If that were true, we’d all be in trouble. In looking at the story of the call of Matthew, we discover that Jesus came not for those who thought themselves righteous, but those who, knowing they were sinners, were open to his love and forgiveness.
Genesis 22:1b-19; Matthew 9:1-8
Trust and belief go hand-in-hand. But which comes first? They are ancillary to each other. If you trust someone or something, do you also believe or do you gradually grow in faith/belief? Or if you believe in someone or some cause, do you automatically place your trust there? I do not know; we all develop this synergistic combination differently. Today’s readings speak of both belief and trust. We know Abraham believed in the God of the covenant because he was preparing to offer God sacrifice. Abraham apparently also trusted God because he was prepared to make “the blind leap of faith” and sacrifice his only son Isaac. Is my/your faith that strong that we would trust God when he asked us for a similar but simpler personal sacrifice?