Gospel – 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.
If you have been paying attention, and if you have been attending the Novus Ordo Mass, or the Ordinary Form of the Mass, you have noticed a common theme to the Gospel readings this week. Jesus has gathered His disciples, He has spent much time with them.. teaching them…Then, after He is satisfied, He chooses 12 from out of the the many disciples gathered, He names these 12 as His Apostles. Twelve that He will send out “like sheep in the midst of wolves.” (Matthew 10:16-23) It is the beginning of His Apostolic Tradition…the teachings that will be handed down from one generation to the next…In the Gospels we read how he instructs them on how they are to behave, what they are to take with them…which is almost nothing…He is separating them from their material belongings… from their families…from their attachments to the world.
He tells them that they are to travel into towns and cure the people. He has given them the power over demons… given them the power to drive the demons out. He has given them power over evil… But He also warns the Apostles… many times in fact…to be weary of man. He warns them that they will be handed over to the courts… that they will be persecuted… they will suffer for His sake. It is a difficult task. It is not for the faint of heart…
Called to be one of Jesus’ disciples. To be an Apostle. It is a life changing event. A drastic change from the ordinary…. And yet, here we are…baptized Christians( Catholics) called, to be just that. Apostles to the world. The whole lot of us. You. Me. Everyone one of us who calls ourselves Christian. We are Called…
It’s pretty heavy stuff. Have you answered that call yet? Or is it still there, blinking in the background, like some unanswered message on your phone….flashing on and off, a mere distraction to your temporal affairs?… you do realize, that we cannot avoid it forever.
Just like the Twelve, as Apostles, we are all called to become the very Lord we seek. To diminish so that He can increase. Isn’t that the message we hear from Jesus week after week…day after day…?
If you don’t believe me, look at the Apostles Creed. It’s that prayer we say every time we go to Sunday Mass… every-time… Like the Our Father, it’s one of those prayers you have to learn before making your First Holy Communion or your Confirmation. Its one of those prayers you have to know by heart... It is what we have to believe as Catholics, as Christians, called by God. It is our Creed. It is who we are. More than simple freckles and red hair, or dark hair and brown eyes. It is even more of who we are than our nationality. Hard to believe, but it is true. God’s reign comes before country. Every time.
And although it is a daunting task… a task that will require far more from us than we can ever give on our own… we mustn’t fret...we mustn’t allow ourselves to become wrapped in fear and trembling. Jesus had these words for His disciples, and He still has these very words for us…as He sends us out…
“Therefore do not be afraid of them.
Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light;
what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;
rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy
both soul and body in Gehenna.
As a disciple, He will give us the words we are to speak. He will be our voice if we let Him. He will also guide our hands and our feet. But we have got to decrease… we have got to challenge our will to conform to the Will of the One Who made us. If we can do that, we’ve got half the battle won. It can be done. It is not impossible. Yet, it is harder than you might think. But whatever you do…don’t give up. Do not give in to the temptation to take it easy. It will be a difficult row to hoe. Full of rocks and pebbles… filled with full blown boulders and stones. But we must carry on.
Listen, God made us for greatness. Knit out of His own hands…in His own image… each of us, made for greatness…Which means we are called to do great things…. Called to be a disciple among the nations… A disciple for the nation.
We have been chosen to carry His Light into the world. A world that prefers darkness and sin ... its a challenge… it will be it’s own adventure…
To be a part of the Discipleship of Christ.. its the toughest job you will ever have… Let Him lead you where you shall go. Even when you weighed down by your many struggles, stay strong in the Lord. Because it is only with His grace, that we will endure. He has already won the battle for us. And it is His strength alone,that will save us in our weakness. He will lift us up… He will sustain us. He will give us everything we need. Just maybe not everything we want…
The Lord is calling. He is calling us. Each of us who have been baptized in His name are being called to be His disciple… We have been chosen by the Lord to be His Apostle at precisely this moment in time. When the world we live in, is spinning in its madness. A world that has always been cold towards its Creator. Here we are, in a time when Christianity finds Itself in the cross hairs again. We are living in a time when the secular society has all but embraced the evil one and his lies…Without even realizing it….they are proudly proclaiming the words of the evil one as their mantra.
It is the same story throughout all of history. Good against evil. God versus the devil. As Christians we all know that God has already won. Christ saved us all….but there will be more battles…the devil’s pride has always been his downfall. But he will not go lightly. He wishes to condemn as many souls as he can before the final trumpet call. He has his minions…they are everywhere….self proclaimed satanists or not, they are working against the Lord.
Are you now ready to answer the Lord’s call? You know He is calling you… you can feel it in your soul. There is a battle brewing and God is calling His disciples to be ready, to be on guard. As Christians we have an obligation to serve One God…one Master, it is time for us as Christians to act like who we are… Apostles of the Lord…and members in the Discipleship of Christ. May God Bless you.