February 4, 2016

Gospel MK 6:7-13
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick–no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.
He said to them,
“Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.”
So they went off and preached repentance.
The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
Reflection:
A quick reading of today’s Gospel might leave the reader with the impression that Jesus sent his apostles into the surrounding towns like poor beggars.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Before sending them out, Jesus empowered the Twelve, giving them “authority over unclean spirits.”
At a time when people believed that sickness, infirmities and diseases were caused by unclean spirits, the Apostles were armed with powerful medicines.
“He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick–no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.”
Their “authority over unclean spirits” however was not their own, but that of God. Their humble manner of dress was intended to convey to those they met that they were not gods but simple men.
“Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.”
The message is clear: The Apostles were not to be either intrusive or seeking the best accommodations. If they and their message of salvation were welcomed, then they were to humbly accept the hospitality.
If they were neither welcomed or listened to, they were to go on their way. Those who rejected them were to be left with the consequences of their decision not to accept the emissaries of Christ.
“The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.”
Clearly, only those whose minds and hearts were open and had the faith to believe could be healed by the Apostles.
Those who rejected the Apostles and their message of the love of God closed themselves off from the healing power of Christ.
It is the same today. Through those who believe in Him, Christ is constantly reaching out to those held captive by the things of this world.
But Christ’s love and healing can only be attained by those who want it and accept it.
“Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.” Revelation 3:20