Wednesday, July 15, 2015

For a collective examination

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
July 12, 2015

Mark 6:7-13

Jesus doesn't send his disciples forth any which way. To collaborate on his project of the kingdom of God and prolong his mission, caring for lifestyle is essential. If not, they'll be able to do many things, but not introduce his spirit into the world. Mark reminds us of some of Jesus' recommendations. We will highlight a few.

First, who are they to act in the name of Jesus? What is their authority? According to Mark, by sending them, Jesus "gives them authority over unclean spirits." He doesn't give them power over the people they will meet on their journey. Neither did he use his power to rule, but to heal.

As always, Jesus is thinking of a healthier world, freed from the evil forces that enslave and dehumanize human beings. His disciples will introduce his saving power among the nations. They will break through in society, not by using power over people, but by humanizing life, alleviating the people's suffering, making freedom and fraternity grow.

They will take only a "walking stick" and "sandals." Jesus pictures them as walkers. Never settled. Always on the road. Not attached to anything or anyone. Just with what's essential. With the agility that Jesus had to be present wherever anyone needed him. Jesus' staff is not for ruling, but for walking.

They will take "no food, no sack, no money." They are not to be obsessed about their own security. They only take with them what's most important: Jesus' Spirit, his Word, and his Authority to humanize people's lives. Interestingly, Jesus isn't thinking about what they have to bring to be effective, but what they are not to take. Lest some day they forget the poor and become absorbed in their own well-being.

Nor will they bring a "second tunic." They will dress with the simplicity of the poor. They will not wear sacred vestments like the Temple priests. Nor will they dress like John the Baptist alone in the desert. They will be prophets among the people. Their lives will be a sign of God's nearness to all, especially the neediest.

Will we dare do a collective examination within the Church someday to let ourselves be enlightened by Jesus and see how we've been moving away from his spirit almost without realizing it?

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