He instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff.


 

The Gospel today pictures Jesus handing over some travel documents and guideline. In the previous five chapters, the “twelve” have heard and seen enough of the person and gestures of Jesus to be ready to extend Him. Jesus conducts kind of an airport security check, or better, insecurity check. Jesus instructs His disciples on how they, like the prophets, must conduct themselves. In effect, they are to travel light and rely on the generosity of townspeople for food and lodging. If they are badly treated, or their message is not welcomed, they are to “shake the dust from their feet” in protest, and go to another town.
In sending The Twelve out into the world, Jesus instructed them to rely entirely upon the grace of God. They were not to carry items customary for a journey, not even money! Rather, they were to place their complete trust in God who would provide for all their needs.

At airports travelers are examined as to their carrying anything of a dangerous nature to the plane or fellow passengers. So, Jesus is examining His followers for anything that would be harmful to their freely assisting Jesus in His healing those who have been injured or sick. Jesus strip-searches them for anything they would be relying on for their supporting personal frailty or fears. No “back-up” tunics or “sacks” of money to be trusted for their gaining positions of power. They are given authority, which is an interior sense rather than an outward credential. They seem to want to go and we hear that they were quite successful.

Why does Jesus send the disciples out with nothing? No purse, no bread, no haversack. What is it that he wants them to learn? I think it is about learning to recognize their dependence on God and perhaps also on each other. They can’t store anything up, because they don’t have a bag to carry it in. They can’t rely on money, because they don’t take any with them. They have to trust that other people will be hospitable and generous towards them.

I am not sure that we always feel that same sense of trust and dependence on God and on others. And maybe we need to practice how to live this kind of life – because hospitality and generosity are two of our most crucial values. Do we dare to live on less so that we can share generously with others? Or are we afraid to let go of our security and comfort blankets?
The heaviest burden we tend to carry in any relationship, and so too with Jesus and His invitations, is our desperate need to be effective, look good, and be successful. Going on a trip or vacation we take all kinds of things, “Just in case”, “Ya never know.”  We fear getting caught short, are fearful of not being adequate to the task. This vivid image of the apostles going in pairs out into the world with firm reliance upon the help of God should be a consolation to us as we strive to put into practice the faith we profess, as we strive to accomplish the Lord’s Will in our daily living. God does have a plan for our lives, a plan that He fully intends to accomplish through us. We count upon Him to give us the means by which to live good and holy lives, bearing fruit in abundance through our words and deeds.

Jesus,
may we learn from you how to trust in God and in each other. Show us how to live out our values of hospitality and generosity. May we live in peace rather than in fear and anxiety about the future.  Amen.

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