Gospel Reflection: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute

 

FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

JULY 12, 2015

 Alleluia, Alleluia.

   May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

The Gospel of Saint Mark 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.
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.

The Gospel of the Lord

REFLECTION

Today’s Gospel from Saint Mark identifies the third stage of the process of formation for the Twelve, also referred to as the Apostles.  The First Stage was the calling of the disciples to be fishers of men (Mark 1:16…); the Second Stage was a further selection from the midst of the disciples the Twelve so that they could receive special training (Mark 3:13…); the Third Stage which we read of today, has the Twelve being given their assignment to implement what they have learned from Jesus, namely building-up the kingdom of God – (Jesus sent) them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits.

In addition, the Twelve were given permission to wear sandals and one tunic, and to use a walking- stick – only the basic necessities for the journey, the mission.  By listening to Jesus, and more importantly watching Him, they have learned detachment from worldly things and the necessity to be absolutely dependent on God.  The basis of Jewish daily spirituality comes from the Psalms of which Jesus and the Twelve would have been acquainted.  Within the Psalm prayers and hymns is the clear teaching that all who place themselves at the mercy of God will receive from God’s hands food, drink, and safety.  Therefore, the Twelve go forth with confidence in God!

They are given one additional farewell instruction, that is, to avoid self-serving activity, like jumping from house to house for their benefit.   They are to remember that they are being sent to serve and not be served.  They are to minister to others like the Lord’s self-sacrificing service for us.

With that preparation, the six pairs of ambassadors of Jesus are dispatched for ministry – (sent) out two by two.  Ministers of Jesus are sent out together – two by two, not as lone individuals.  Clearly Saint Mark’s Gospel instructs ministers of every age to be: confident in God’s providence, self-sacrificing in service to others and to minister with others in Christian friendshiptwo by two.

To minister with others in Christian fellowship or friendship is a divinely inspirited sign to the world that unity and love are the Christian’s hallmark – it is the very nature of living in the Body of Christ, the Church.  Whether in the home, parish or world, Christians minister to each other and to the world as friends in Christ.  Often times, people are willing to serve others in love, but too often Christians have a real challenge loving fellow Christians, and yet that is the sign that attracts others to Christ — see how they love one another!

The disciple is called to build up the Body of Christ by ministering to each other in loving friendship while we minister to the world in self-sacrificing love.  May God bless our bond of friendship in Christ, and bless the ministerial work of our hands!

WE BELIEVE, AND THEREFORE SPEAK (2 Corinthians 4:13)

Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our website for details: MalvernRetreat.com

 

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