THE Gospel for today (Mk 6:7-13) says: He called the Twelve Apostles to him, and began to send them out two by two, giving them authority over evil spirits. And he ordered him to take nothing for the journey, except a staff: no food, no bag, no money in their belts. They were to wear sandals and were not to take an extra tunic.
And he added, “In whatever house you are welcomed, stay there until you leave the place. If any place doesn’t receive you, and the people refuse to listen to you, leave after shaking the dust off your feet. It will be a testimony against them.”
So they set out to proclaim that this was the time to repent. They drove out many demons and healed many sick people by anointing them.
On another note – Jesus begins a third stage of his ministry by organizing a mission throughout the province. Before, the apostles accompanied Jesus but now he sends them ahead of him.
Jesus is an educator. He not only teaches his followers, he has them share in his mission. His apostles must also proclaim their faith and perform healings as the Master does. By doing this, they put into practice what they have discovered of the kingdom of God. The disciples should be first to believe what they themselves proclaim: God makes himself present. Because of this, they must live day by day, trusting in the Father’s Providence, not frightened but always conscious of God’s mission and power.
Oil was used at the time as a remedy, but Jesus gives it a new meaning: the healings bring more than just well being, they are also the sign of spiritual healing, the reconciliation of people with God.
Jesus’ concern to form communities of believers is already present. He sends his disciples out two by two so that the message will not be from one person only, but the expression of a group united in one mission. Jesus tells them to stay under one roof with one family so that this may be a center radiating faith.
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