Thursday, 26th Week in Ordinary Time          

            The seventy disciples Jesus sends on a mission are to go to the towns, in pairs, where he himself intends to go. They are sent in pairs because, being untrained, they can support one another and be a comfort to each other in times of persecution. Their work is to heal the sick in the name of Jesus, and preach the kingdom of God. Jesus instructs them: 1. To “carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals.” 2. To “greet no one along the way.” 3. To “stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered.”

            Jesus’ instructions are for all those whom he commissions to proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God. Needless to say, as Christian disciples we are all commissioned. Let me emphasize three points based on these instructions…

            First, as missionary disciples, we are not to be cluttered up with material things; we are to travel light. It is easy to get entangled in the things of this life. Somebody defined material possessions as “the things which make it difficult for people to die and think of heaven.” Earth must never blot out heaven.

            Second, as missionary disciples, we are to concentrate on the task in hand. According to William Barclay’s commentary on this passage, Jesus’ instruction to “greet no one along the way” goes back to Elisha’s instruction to Gehazi in 2 Kings 4:29. It is not an instruction to discourtesy. It simply means that those who serve God must not turn aside or linger on trivialities while the great things call them. We are not to be caught up with lesser things.

            Third, as missionary disciples, we are not to seek comforts and luxuries. According to Barclay, the disciple must not think of moving from house to house in search of better and more comfortable quarters.

            If we are to fulfill our calling as God’s missionaries of love, if we are to be authentic messengers of the Good News, and if we are to respond to the call to live a simple life, we must trust God – we must trust in his providential care. We must trust that he will always provide what we really need. We must hold on to this truth: The Lord who has called and sent us will surely provide for our needs. Take note: He will provide what we need for the mission and not what we want for our convenience and pleasure.

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