The Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (15th July 2018)
Amos 7:12-15; Ps 85:9-14; Eph 1:3-14; Mk.6:7-13
Theme: Being Mission
In this Sunday’s gospel, taken from Mark, we read that Jesus calls the twelve, sends them out two by two and gives them authority over unclean spirits. He orders them to take nothing for the journey except a staff. He instructs them to remain in the house that receives them until they depart.
The initial phase of the training of the Twelve is now complete; they are ready to participate actively in the mission of Jesus. Their first task as apostles is to be with him; the second is to be sent out and carry out the same works as Jesus himself has been doing. (Healy, 114) Jesus in his instructions seems to give more emphasis on how the apostles are to be, rather than what they are to do or where they are to go.
They are to set out two by two, perhaps to ensure that there would be two witnesses in accordance with Deut 17:6 which would be relevant if one is giving a testimony. (Levine, Epub index 2962) The emphasis of having authority over unclean spirits is given. It may be a way of uniting and paving the way for individuals to be accepted back into their communities. The apostles are instructed to go on the journey carrying nothing but the clothes they have on their backs, sandals for their feet and a staff. They are asked to stay in the house that receives them until they depart. They are asked to trust in God’s providence and rely on the hospitality of the people they are to minister to, an opportunity for the individuals in the community to participate in the mission of God. They are asked to build good relationships by remaining with their hosts families.
In the first reading we hear Amos clearly knowing what God has tasked him to do and with whom. In the second reading to the Ephesians, we hear how Christ was sent out to unite all to him. Our Sunday readings all speak of different ways of being sent out … being mission.
It seems that Mark speaks of yet another different way of understanding mission. Mission is not simply something we do, but rather who we are. To embody mission, we are asked to first and foremost find ways to be with our God, to see ourselves magnificently created in God’s image and likeness. It, then, requires of us to enter into relationships, building communities of oneness with each other and, as Pope Francis encourages us these days, with the whole of creation. We are to be mindful, too, that to embody mission means to be attentive to ways wherein we allow others to participate in God’s mission with us in every possible way.
There are many ways of expressing mission in our lives but clearly there are essential aspects: attentiveness to God's call, being attuned to God's presence in and around us and "being with" in all our relationships. God is with the one God sends. Ultimately it is about us, in the expression of our lives in big and small ways, becoming God's message of hope, peace and love for all.
For Reflection and Discussion: How are you participating in God’s mission in your daily encounters?  How are your relationships reflecting God’s message of hope, peace and love?
Bibliography: Levine and Brettler (eds.), The Jewish Annotated New Testament: NRSV translation Epub version (New York, 2011);Healy, The Gospel of Mark (Michigan, 2008)
This week’s teaching commentary was prepared by
Weeyaa Villanueva, RNDM, Davao, Philippines, Bat Kol alum 2010
[Copyright © 2018]
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