MISSION HOW, TO WHOM, WHERE
15th SUNDAY ORDINARY TIME YEAR B
When I finally received the letter of destination to Sierra Leone, with the happiness of having a place to go, a Country of adoption, I begun to think and ask myself what would I need there.
I made a list that included light clothes, some books I had used and cherished up to that time (the Bible first of all!); a knife for emergencies, some medicines for malaria, worms, diarrhoea….
But meeting now this Gospel of the year B (Mark 6, 6 – 13) I realize that the words of Jesus are not in line with my past worries. My Bible, for instance, was in Italian and so not usable here because I have to proclaim it in other languages.
Jesus spoke of a stick; in my immediate preparation I did not think of it; but now, approaching the 80 years of age, I keep a walking stick at hand.
About the things that Jesus considers not useful the first He mentions is bread: Commentators say “Because he himself is the bread of life” (cf. John 6, 35); He also wants to free his missionaries from the preoccupation for the food (cf. Mt 6, 25). And saying “no spare clothes, no haversack, no money” (verses 8 and 9) Jesus thinks about the poverty of the missionaries.
And there are things that I am supposed to have with me, in me: the power to cast out forces contrary to Christ and the Christians (the unclean spirits) and Jesus endows his missionaries with them (v 7); the value of the team work mentioned by the fact that He sends us “in pairs”(v 7): this is the great support given to the mission by the community life; the extra value of poverty (no money) because the Master is in charge of it (Cf. Mathew 6. 31-33) and the worker deserves a payment. Imagine, for instance, how willingly the people gave to the Apostles the oil for the “many sick people”( v. 13) to be cured.
For whom is this Gospel page? For all apostles/missionaries and now for the missionaries of today! But we must keep in mind that every follower of Christ is sent to today’s world, so he/she is a missionary now, he/she must apply the same methodology, proclaim with enthusiasm that we have found the real way of salvation, and urgently proclaim it to today’s world.