Let us pray
O God, who show the light of Your truth
to those who go astray,
so that they may return to the right path.
give all who for the faith they profess
are accounted Christians
the grace to reject whatever is contrary to the name of Christ
and to strive after all that does it honour.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
In making this prayer tangible, the following reflection questions emerged:
- How does God's light show itself to me when I go astray?
- What attitude do I have to the sacrament of Reconciliation?
- What does it mean to me to be called a Christian?
- What does the name of Christ mean?
- How do I strive to honour the name of Christ?
- How is my personal journey in this Year of Grace progressing?
With the brief sentence “Then He went about among the villages teaching”, Mark commences the stories of missionary journeys of Jesus and his disciples beyond the familiar synagogues and towns of the lakeside.
After the ‘failure’ in the synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus no longer teaches in the synagogues and towns, but continues his teaching moving among the villages of the countryside. He calls the twelve, whom He chose earlier (3:14), and sends them two by two on a mission, asking of them the same mobility and flexibility. In Jewish law two are necessary for a valid witness.
The are sent to share in the mission of Jesus to reveal the kingdom of God in the world. The authority to do this, which Jesus has from God, He gives to them. It is an authority that goes beyond teaching in words and shows itself in a new power over evils spirits which oppress people, to free people from sickness and to turn human hearts towards God.
Like John the Baptiser, the disciples do not explicitly proclaim the kingdom in words. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus alone does this.
They are to be mobile, symbolised the travelling staff, and they are to be flexible, living in simplicity without provision from food, money or extra clothing, trusting in the providence of God. Like Jesus they are to remain in a place as long as they are made welcome. The gesture of wiping the feet before leaving was a sign among the Jews of separating oneself from a people who lacked true faith in God.
The six pairs of disciples leave Jesus and go off to witness to the coming of the kingdom of God into the world. They call for a radical turning to God, they drive out demons and they anoint the sick with oil.
In our journal and/or our discussion group we may wish to reflect on this passage as follows:
- Name the key points that you have learnt about the person of Jesus in this passage of scripture?
- Reflect on the keywords in this passage for they contain the substance and purpose of all the things Jesus said and did-
- Consider my relationship with Jesus in the light of this Gospel passage.
- Reflect on the simplicity of lifestyle Jesus asks and consider how much I seek this as a way to experience God’s power in my life.
- Consider what power Jesus shares with the twelve. Try to enter into something of their feelings as they set out?
- Ponder on the effect for the disciples their of lack of worldly goods for the journey Jesus asks of them at the beginning of the journey and their faith in Jesus?
- Reflect on how the disciples needs were taken care of by those whom they visited and how they must have felt as they realized the providence of God?
- How do I relate to this story of Jesus offering me the mission to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God. Make a list of areas in my life that need a change of heart and develop an action plan on how this change of heart might occur. (eg name an area and name one/two changes that you will implement with God's help.
- What impact does Jesus’ teaching have on you (6:6-13).
- How has this passage spoken to you- what does it say to you personally?
On a personal note, I had the priviledge to be at 3 Masses yesterday, one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. It was indeed a holy day!!! By the end of the day, I felt I had heard the opening prayer and the Word of God almost too often for one day. However, the fascinating aspect of these Masses were the homilies given by these 3 priests. Each one of them took an aspect from the gospel and developed his homily from there. I could not help but smile to myself- here is God's word- the same gospel but 3 totally different homillies- the gospel is indeed ancient but ever new.
One priest who was a visitor to my parish concentrated on the need to evangelize and to examine one's baggage so as to travel light. He spoke from his current experience ministering in PNG and compared the life and ministry there to his previous ministry in Australia.
The second priest zoned in on fact that Jesus sent them out in pairs- meaning that each disciple provided a witness to those to whom they were preaching to, and that because Jesus had sent them out in pairs, they were supported by each other in their ministry. He then went on to talk about the need for priests to be supported in their ministry and the need to pray for them.
The third priest took a different angle- he focused his attention on the fact that the disciples anointed the sick. He then went on to give a beautiful presentation about the sacrament of the anointing of the sick which Jesus had insitituted.
By the end of the day, I flopped into bed and was thankful that this gospel had been explored from so many angles and with such richness.