What's Jesus Advice to Travelers?

12 July 2009: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 6, 7-13 Instructions for the Twelve

Note: Taglish version below. If you're a Filipino please read the Taglish version. The story is appropriated to you. Thank you very much.

The episode in the Gospel today presents the sending of the Twelve on a mission to heal and to preach the Good News. The mission of the Twelve apostles was already prepared by the fact that Jesus specifically called them. Jesus gave them two primary instructions. First, that they take nothing for their journey. This means that a missionary must be poor, simple, frugal and trusting in God’s care. This is an old instruction to the present, “Travel light”. Traveling light facilitates mobility, availability and purity of testimony. In Jesuit life, we were trained to respond right away when we are instructed to go to another place for mission. We bring only the necessary things with us; trusting that whatever we need in our future ministry, we already have them there.

Second, that they anticipate opposition: in the eventuality that people will not welcome you, shake off the dust that is on your feet. This needs explanation. To shake the dust off your feet is an act of rupture known in the ancient world. The person doing this signifies that he wants to take absolutely nothing of what belongs to the city or country judged unworthy --- not even its dust. Kung sa Pilipino, “wala akong kinalaman sa inyo.” (In Filipino, I don’t want to have anything to do with you.)

Finally, Jesus sent them two by two. There is something important here: Jesus sent his disciples in pairs. Why two and not just one?

This is to ensure mutual support amidst difficulties. The Lord understands that it is difficult to be alone at work. It is worse when we have no one to talk to or to be with. And a much, much more difficult situation is when we have no one who listens and supports us.

Second, the quality of our service also depends on feedback from a co-worker. A husband-and-wife team is able to rear a family better. A rector and seminarian will be able to help each other grow in religious life. We are greatly helped when someone tells us that what we’re doing is correct or not. If we listen to feedback or evaluation, we will do well in our work. When feedback is given, we should not take it personally: it is about our work and not about our person.

Third, it also means that the mission given to us is, in a sense, a community or ecclesial undertaking. When we are sent to speak and to act, we are speaking and acting in behalf of Christ and the Church, not only on our own. Everyone is affected by what we do.

A lady once saw a lamp. She polished it and by rubbing it with cloth, a genie appeared. “Because you have freed me from the lamp,” the genie said, “I will grant you three wishes. But remember that in every wish, you’re husband will receive it three times more.”

“I want to have three billion dollars,” the woman said.

“Are you sure? Your husband will be three billion richer,” the genie warned.

“Yes, I am.” So it happened. The lady’s husband became richer.

“I want to be beautiful,” she said.

“Are you sure? Your husband will be thrice as handsome as Brad Pitt,” the genie said.

“Yes, I am.” And so it happened.

“The third wish?” The genie asked.

The woman said, “Please give me a mild heart attack.”

The point today is simple. We affect our neighbors whatever we do. We live out the commandments of the Lord, not just personally, but as a community. Test this: throw a piece of garbage in one corner of the street. Observe. Someone else will automatically throw something there, thinking it is fine to dump our trash there. By doing so, we create a culture or a mindset. We let them think that it is fine to throw garbage anywhere. That is why, if we want people to be environmentally conscious, we too have to be particular about setting a good example. We pray that we think first before we act. Because, it will not just affect our immediate neighbors but in the greater scheme of things, the worldwide community.


Pauline said...

Fr Jboy, Jenni Winters from Magis Australia pointed out your site to me. My name is Pauline Jasudason, currently working for CathNews.com and CathNewsAsia.com (check the sites out).

I was asking her about a video you'd sent through once to us, prior to World Youth Day. (I was working with them at the time and I believe it was as a foretaste of the experiment that you guys were planning in the Philippines)

Have found it on your YouTube page - it's the one called The Bell. I hope I could link the video to CathNews Asia, we feature one made in Asia video on the site daily. Drop me a note at cathnews@gmail.com.

Many thanks and God bless,

Jessel Gerard said...

Hi Pauline, sure use it as much as you can. I have other videos too. Actually MTVs which we produced.

Jboy SJ

Pauline said...

Thks much Fr Jboy! =)