Amos 7:12-15; Eph 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13
There was a story about a mother carrying her child in her arms was asked by a prosecutor in a court to renounce her faith in God. Her child cried out to the prosecutor: “Jesus Christ is the true God.”
The prosecutor asked the child: “Who told you so?” “My mother,” replied the child. “And who told your mother?” asked the prosecutor again. “God told her,” the child answered him.
If the home environment of this child is atheistic, he does believe that God really does not exist or he will be led to believe in a false god. But if a child is formed in an environment of a Christian home, he will definitely come to believe and worship of a true God. Actually, in the teaching of the Catholic Church, the parents are the first missionaries, the first catechists and the first teachers to their children. They got this responsibility of first teachers when the child was baptized. They took the oath before God and the church through the minister that they are going to pass this faith to the child.
Last Sunday’s gospel reported to us the rejection of Jesus by His own townspeople. Today, we are given a profile of those who believe in Him. From among His followers, Jesus chooses the Twelve, His band of intimate friends. The Twelve together with the other disciples are Jesus’ true family and community.
He instructs them to take nothing for the journey especially of comforts and security like food, travelling bag and money. When he sends the Twelve to preach, He tells them to take only the minimum requirements for the journey: walking stick and a pair of sandals which can give protection against wild beasts and snakes and the rough roads of Palestine at that time. He urges His disciples to travel light for greater mobility and availability in their mission.
Bishop Dinualdo D. Gutierrez shared to us his priests about his travel abroad one time. He brought with him two small bags of his personal belongings. He said that it was easy for him to go wherever he wanted and it was east to pass by narrow streets.
Jesus’ disciples must depend on God for their food and shelter. He would like the twelve to be preachers of the word and witnesses of the message. They are to proclaim to all that God is present but they must first be convinced of what they said that, this is the truth.
The gospel tells us that Jesus summons the Twelve and begins to send them out “two by two.” This must not be understood as referring only exclusively to the religious men and women who are selflessly devoting their lives in the Church’s missionary activity. Rather, this must include the invaluable and indispensable responsibility of others in being missionaries to their brothers and sisters.
Like for example, a priest in his homily, told the people of his own experience when he officiated a wedding. He said: “I officiated a marriage validation in Church of six couples in Marilao, Bulacan. This was arranged and prepared for by Marriage Encounter couples of the Mater Dei Community which meets every Wednesday evening at Christ the King Seminary in Quezon City.
There are so many instances which demonstrate how generous, committed and sacrificing renewed Catholics are today. Forgetting their personal needs and comforts, they take time to reach out to people who are spiritually in need. Some even give spiritual conferences better than some priests. Even in the monthly recollection of priests, we have some speakers, and they are good speakers, who are lay people.
In other words, all of us are called by God to be missionaries, proclaimers and witnesses to others of His Words. Vatican II document entitled Apostolican Actuositatem (on the Apostolate of the Laity) no. 3 said: “Incorporated into Christ’s Mystical Body through Baptism and strengthened by the Spirit through Confirmation, the laity are assigned to the apostolate by the Lord Himself.” So whether you are an accountant, a lawyer, a clerk, a doctor, a musician, or an executive, a teacher or whatever, you are sent out “to preach, heal, teach and witness to the good news,” in short, to evangelize.
Also let us bear this in our minds that the proclamation of God’s word must be free. It is not meant to protect or subservient to particular interest or classes of people; the missionaries of the word is sent in poverty. The word of God must be free from encumbering baggage, and mission is aimed at the whole man, not only the soul but also the body is to be saved.
And how, again, Apostolican Actuositatem no. 6 says, “The very testimony of their Christian life and good works done in supernatural spirit have the power to draw men to belief and to God.” Just the way you live can do more good to others than the many dragging sermons and voluminous books written by known writers.
Sad to say, many still have the idea that the call of Christ is addressed only to apostles and their successors, the bishops. This is not true today. Every Christian is commissioned to a ministry of love and justice by virtue of their baptism and confirmation. Even a lot of our Catholic members seem reluctant to talk about their faith or share their religious experience in public. They would rather talk about the latest showbiz gossip intrigues.
So, let us ask ourselves, are we faithful to our mission?
See Today’s Readings: Cycle B