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Tools of the mission

July 12, 2015

A reflection for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, year B. The readings are Amos 7:12-15; Psalm 85; Ephesians 1:3-14 and Mark 6:7-13.

Today Jesus give us the tools that we need for the mission. So we need to first ask ourselves one question: “What is the mission?” What is our two-fold mission? Our mission is, first, to get to Heaven and second, to take others with us. We don’t go alone; we go together.

If you’re still unsure about that, just re-read the beginning of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: God chose us to be holy and without blemish before him. And we have already received the first installment of our inheritance, the Holy Spirit. So no excuses. If you had the secret to the cure for cancer, wouldn’t you share that with everyone? Well, we have something better: the secret to life, to abundant life, to eternal life; the secret to eternal joy and satisfaction; the secret to holiness; the secret to getting to Heaven! No excuses like we heard last week with Ezekiel being sent to a rebellious people who didn’t listen to him (Ez 2:2-5). If people don’t listen to you, so what? Proclaim the Good News anyway. If people don’t recognise you, as happened to Jesus that he wasn’t even recognised in his own town (Mark 6:1-6). If people don’t recognise you; proclaim the Good News anyway. And no excuses about being weak, as we heard from Paul (2 Cor 12:7-10). No excuses about being weak, or not being prepared or being a sinner. Proclaim the Good News anyway!

And today Jesus gives us the tools we need to fulfill our mission. There are only six things I need you to remember. Hope you’re taking notes, ‘cause this is Good News.

First, Jesus sends us. We don’t go out of our own will. We don’t go ‘cause we want to – it’s not our idea or our mission. We are sent. And the fact that we are sent means that there is a purpose. We go ‘cause we are sent.

But we are not just sent alone; we are sent as a group. Jesus send the disciples two-by-two. This is not just practical, for protection and company; but it’s also wise. Two are always better than one. Two people keep each other accountable; you can always bounce ideas off the other person or rely on the other when you run out of ideas. Humans are not meant to be alone; we are meant to be in relationship because we are created in the image of God who is Relationship. That’s why Jesus doesn’t just leave 12 individuals; He leaves a Church. We worship in community. It’s very hard to travel on this journey on your own. You must belong to a Parish and don’t just go to Church; belong to the Parish, participate; meet people – these are the people who will support you, encourage you and pray for you on your walk. It’s like anything – if you want to go jogging every morning or go to the gym, you could go by yourself, but you are more likely to go if you go with someone else because you’ve made a commitment to tat other person and that person keeps you accountable. So we are sent and we are sent together – no one here is Han Solo or the Lone Ranger (even the Lone Ranger had Tonto).

Third: Jesus gives us his authority. We have permission to go and do this. You have the authority that you need to go and help people, to heal them to comfort them. The Church has the authority of Jesus Christ; when the Pope speaks, He speaks with the authority of Jesus Christ. What I am telling you right now, I am telling you with the authority of Jesus Christ. You have the authority.

Then – Jesus tells them not to take anything. This is because all you need is Him. This is so that we know that we need to be dependent on Him and rely on Him. Do not worry about what to say, for He will give you the words. Don’t worry about stuff that will get in the way. All you need is Him:

First – you need a tunic. Just one. We clothe ourselves in Christ. When we clothe ourselves in Christ we will approach everyone we meet with compassion and love. We will see and love them as Christ sees them and loves them.

Second – you need a walking stick. Walking sticks are great; they give us balance and they are also good weapons in case you’re attacked by a wild animal. So what is a good weapon that also keeps us balanced? The Word of God. Take the Word of God. That is our walking stick.

Third – take sandals. Take care of your feet. Your feet are your vehicle; your means of getting to where you are going. They are also what keeps us grounded. What is our vehicle that helps us stay grounded in Christ? Prayer and the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation. Prayer and the Sacraments are our pair of sandals.

So we are sent, two-by-two, with authority, only clothed in Christ, with the Word of God as walking stick and Prayer and Sacraments as our sandals. The last thing is that we move. Go. There is an urgency. That’s why if people don’t listen to you or reject you; don’t waste time, move on. But this whole business of shaking the dust off your feet is not to be mean or to curse people. It’s simply to remind us that we need to let go and move on. Do not let the failure or disappointment get you down. Look at the Prophet Amos – they didn’t want him in Israel prophesying. He wasn’t even a prophet! God sent him and he went. They didn’t want him telling them what they didn’t want to hear; he told them anyway. St. Paul was often beaten and thrown out of towns – he would dust himself off and sometimes go right back in. When Jesus was not recognised in his own town, He was still able to heal some people. He didn’t give up. That’s what that means. Don’t give up. Let go and move on.

And when you go, what do you proclaim? What Paul tells the Ephesians: God has blessed you, God has chosen you. God has made you His children. God wants to bring you home. That’s Good News!

So what are we waiting for? Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.

Image: He Sent Out Two by Two by James Tissot, ca. 1886-1896

From → English, Reflections

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