He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick—no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.” So they went off and preached repentance. They drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. (Mark 6:7-13)
In today’s Gospel, Jesus instructs the Twelve as he prepares to send them out to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom.
Normally, when we go on a trip, especially if we’re not accustomed to traveling, we prepare a list of the things we need to pack in our suitcase so that we don’t forget anything.
Jesus likewise prepares a list for the apostles, but it’s precisely a list of things not to take. He wanted His disciples to be focused on the mission and committed to carrying out His word. He wanted them to be free of any baggage that would slow them down.
Excess baggage slows down any traveler.
As we move through life, each of us faces that in the spiritual baggage we carry on our backs. It’s heavy, weighs us down and impedes us from living a fuller Christian life. Jesus is asking us to leave behind the bags of our hurts, our fears, and our dreams.
None of us can move through life without being hurt in one way or another. Someone treats us with disrespect, dishonesty or even violence. A person we trust betrays us. Someone we love walks away. Even after we remove ourselves from the circumstances in which the hurt occurs, the scars from that hurt can still follow us. They become heavy baggage that we carry from one place to the other. Such baggage says to us, “You are broken. You are worthless. You are damaged goods.” Jesus asks us to leave behind the baggage of our hurts.
Fear is not a bad thing. Fear serves a positive purpose of identifying and preparing us for danger. But, once we have done all that we can have to prepare, fear loses its value. Then, holding on to fear can turn into a continual worry that undermines us and paralyzes us. It is like carrying a bag of heavy stones with us wherever we go. Fear says, “The worst is going to happen. It is not going to work out. Things will certainly fall apart.” Such fear allows us to do very little. Jesus asks us to leave the bag of our fears behind.
Usually, we think of dreams in a positive sense. They can be so when they motivate us and inspire us. But there are some dreams that are really impossible, and these dreams hurt us. They are dreams we want but have very little chance of achieving. Some goals are illusionary. Some people will not change. Some circumstances will not improve. When we insist on holding on to such false dreams, they become like a heavy cargo trunk that weighs us down. It robs us of our rest. It robs us of our joy, because we are always chiding ourselves for doing what cannot be done. Jesus asks us to leave the trunk of false dreams behind.
Clearly Jesus sends us out on a mission of love and service. But he wants us to travel light. What kind of useless burdens do you insist on bringing with you? What kind of heavy luggage are you determined to check for your flight? Jesus reminds us that such luggage is unnecessary. He asks us to leave the bags of our hurts, our fears, and our false dreams at home and fly free.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, make me a channel of your healing power and merciful love that others may find abundant life and freedom in you. Free me from all other attachments that I may joyfully pursue the treasure of your heavenly kingdom. May I witness the joy of the Gospel both in word and deed.”
By travelling light, the apostles would also come to know poverty of spirit. “Poverty of spirit” frees us from greed and preoccupation with our possessions and makes ample room for God’s provision. The Lord wants his disciples to be dependent on him and not on themselves. He wills to work in and through each of us for His glory. The more we can detach our occupation with the materiality of the world, the closer we come to depend on Him and the closer we come to living out His word.