Jesus sends out His Apostles to experience what it means to be missionaries in His Holy Name
Reflections on the readings for the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 11, 2021): AM 7:12-15; PS 85:9-10;11-12;13-14; EPH 1:3-14; MK 6:7-13
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
As Catholics we must be ready to introduce our gracious Lord to others, especially those who do not know Him.
In the Gospel reading for this Sunday, we find Jesus sending out His Apostles as His representatives into towns in Galilee. “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.… 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” (Mark 6:7-8, 12-13). Christ is very specific about what the Apostles should and should not take with them as well as how they should act. He wants them to focus on their mission and not their own comfort or other distractions. He does not want them finding a better place to stay, but to be content with wherever they are called. And, having just left Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth where He met with doubt and disapproval, it is no wonder He warns them that they, too, may be rejected.
So the Twelve set off. We are not told just how successful their first missionary efforts were as far as encouraging men and women to repent of their sins. However, we do hear that they drove out demons and healed many sick people. While Jesus was surely concerned about the response of the townspeople, He must have been equally interested in what the Apostles learned from their experience. They already witnessed our Lord performing miracles and preaching to large crowds. He also revealed more about Himself to them – His closest followers as well as His friends. Yet they have never had to be the ones to proclaim and share Christ’s message and His mercy with their own words and actions. Just as our Redeemer sent out the Twelve to reveal Him to others, we also must be ready to show His love to others in all we say and do, day by day in our own communities. As Catholics we must be ready to introduce our gracious Lord to others, especially those who do not know Him.
Suggested missionary action: Like the people who heard the Apostles preach repentance, we too can examine our consciences, and resolve to embrace the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly, encouraging others to do the same, and to live through God’s grace. We can also support those today who go out as missionaries of God’s holy word.