Saturday, 14 July 2012

Nothing ventured

Sunday GospelMark 6:7-13 
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs giving them authority over the unclean spirits. And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, ‘Do not take a spare tunic.’ And he said to them, ‘If you enter a house anywhere, stay there until you leave the district. And if any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them.’ So they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them.

“What happens when people open their hearts?"...
"They get better.” ― 
Haruki Murakami,

To begin with the Twelve; this is one of the pieces of scripture that suggests that there are those that are especially chosen to carry out the work of Jesus. That these twelve people hand down their priestly vocation from one to another - to the exclusion of others. Just as the Hebrew priest caste of the Kohen were given authority through their bloodline back to Aaron.

Thinking about other understandings of reading the Gospel I wonder if this is true; if, in fact, the very opposite is true.

It is believed that Jesus chooses twelve apostles as a way of rebirthing the twelve tribes of Israel - a new beginning. The way of bloodlines and lineage and privilege has gone - now everyone, no matter who they are, are God's chosen people; once they choose to follow Jesus.

The apostles represent the sum of us all. The difference and the diversity; the academic and the practical; the doubter and the faithful; the young turk and the wise elder. When Jesus summons the Twelve he summons everyone; there are no favourites or favoured - if you follow Jesus then be prepared - you will be sent.

Christianity is made up of journeys - the wanderings of Jesus are a pattern for our lives of faith.  If left to ourselves, we may put off leaving the comfort of our homes or our mindset until we are ready. There is always something else we might need; just in case.

Jesus says:
No, you are ready now; you have everything you need. 

Travelling in in the comfort of like-minded people may give you security but not courage. 
Having provisions means you may not ask for help; so how can people offer theirs? 
Being self-sufficient - how will you understand the needs of others; appreciate the hospitality of strangers. 
Knowing where you are, where you are going, means that you may not notice the lesser path, the person in need, and the place you should be. 
Having these things may make others resent you and may make you judge them.

In taking nothing, you will take everything I and my Father have given you. 

In taking nothing you will know that all you need is me. 
In taking nothing all you can give is me. 
Your journey, your mission, is to take me, my Father and the Spirit out into the world. 
 Take nothing else.

This is Jesus’ voice speaking to us, challenging us not to settle for anything less; not to wrap ourselves in security; not to be complacent because we are alright – in our family – in our parish – in our community.

For when he sends you out with only himself – it is because that is all you need.

In Jesus' name

In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.” ― Brennan Manning



Lynda said...

This led me to think about Ignatian detachment and how difficult it is to embrace but how freeing.

Word in the Hand said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Word in the Hand said...

detachment is such a strange spiritual concept - the further you detach the closer you become.
Thanks and blessings Lynda