XV SUNDAY (AMOS 7:12-15, EPH1:3-14, MARK 6:7-13)
Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962), the world-famous violinist, earned a fortune with his concerts and compositions, but he generously gave most of it away. So, when he discovered an exquisite violin on one of his trips, he wasn’t able to buy it. Later, having raised enough money to meet the asking price, he returned to the seller, hoping to purchase that beautiful instrument. But to his great dismay it had been sold to a collector. Kreisler made his way to the new owner’s home and offered to buy the violin. The collector said it had become his
prized possession and he would not sell it. Keenly disappointed, Kreisler was about to leave when he had an idea. "Could I play the instrument once before it is consigned to silence?" he asked. Permission was granted, and the great virtuoso filled the room with such heart-moving music that the collector’s emotions were deeply stirred. "I have no right to keep this violin to myself," he exclaimed. "It’s yours,
Mr. Kreisler. Take it into the world, and let people hear it."
Jesus gives the same kind of instruction to the Apostles the collector gave Kreisler when He sent them out to preach the
is at hand. Kingdom
The first reading warns us that our witnessing mission will be
rejected, as happened to the Old Testament prophets like Amos. He was ordered by Amaziah, the angry chief priest serving in the Northern Kingdom of Israel at
, to take his
prophesying back to his own country, the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Amos
defended his prophetic role with courage, clarifying that it was not his choice
but his God’s choice to elevate him from a shepherd and tree-dresser to a Bethel
prophet. He said he receives no payment like other prophets, it is not his job, it is his mission. Like Amos, each one of us is chosen by God, through the mystery of divine adoption in Jesus, to become missionaries and to preach the “good news” by Christian witnessing. This witnessing is to be exercised in a unique way. They are to take nothing with them except the word of God. Everything they need for this mission will be provided by the Lord.
If we are called to teach something to a group of people today, what all things would we take with us on our trip ? A tape recorder, a microphone, amplifier, DVD player, iPhone, iPad, Projector, a lap top, and what not ?. Why ? Because we don’t trust our memory and our ability to present the message effectively by our mere word of mouth.
Mark writes of the power conferred by Jesus on those he sent out. But along with the power he gave them, he also instructed them on how important it was not to be restricted by unnecessary ‘baggage’. Nothing else is needed; no advertising; no TV commercials; no computerized back-ups; simply the Word”.
Money, a bag, an extra shirt are things for our future needs. Luggage is always for the future. In the present it’s only a burden; but we carry the burden for the sake of the future. To carry luggage with me is to live, to some degree, in the future. The same is true of money: my hunger may be satisfied now, but I take money with me so that I can satisfy it again tomorrow.
No sandals, no staff in the hand; in other words, nothing on your feet, nothing in your hands – just you, a mere human being, with no protections. Take nothing but the WORD. With the Word, Jesus was present with them to empower them. The bible is the only book where the author sits down beside the reader when some one reads it. Having nothing with them will enable them to turn to Jesus for the success of their ministry.
In the book of Judges 6: 11-25), Gideon, the fourth judge of the Israelites is instructed by God’s angel to fight the Midianites who were plundering them every harvest season. The angel told him to fight with just 300 soldiers of
the 135,000 soldeirs of Midanites. Gideon trusted in the strength of the Lord
and defeated and destroyed the mighty army of the Midianites by his surprise
midnight attack. Gideon had a larger army than just 300, but the angel told him
he needs only just 300. Today’s gospel tells us why they did not need anything
but the Word in their heart. Israel
There is another reason why Jesus asks the disciples to go with out taking things of comfort with them. When we live on mere basics, with out any surplus things to make life comfortable we learn to train our character. God is more committed to our character than He is to our comfort. Every storm is an opportunity to grow in Christ and trust Him more. The message of the Gospel is primarily to be assimilated in their life and conveyed through their life. That makes their life more appealing.
This week there was the news of a video footage on Egyptian TV of a Christian convert from Islam being martyred by cutting his throat. Even in the face of death he did not give up his faith, even though he was a new convert. He witnessed to his faith by his life. Such strong witnesses of the gospel will lead many others to faith.
Jesus also gave a warning: if there are those who refuse to listen, then we should not be afraid to shake off the dust from the feet, and leave the task to another, possibly at another time. Rejection of our message is highly possible. But we should not carry that load of defeat and rejection with us longer. As we wipe the dust off our feet, we should leave that feeling of rejection.
Each Christian is called not only to be a disciple but also to be an apostle to evangelize the world. We are called to share with others not just words, or ideas, or doctrines but our experience of God and His Son, Jesus. Like the apostles, like St. Francis Assisi, like Blessed Mother Teresa, we are all chosen and sent to proclaim the Gospel through our living. It is through our transparent Christian lives that we must show in our own actions the love, mercy and concern of Jesus for the people around us. An important part of evangelism is the simple act of inviting a friend or family member to join us in worship. This is where reconciliation between persons and God is most likely to take place. We do not have to commit verbal assault on someone with our convictions. A simple invitation offered out of a loving and joyful heart is the most powerful evangelistic message of all. Beginning of September we will begin our RCIA classes. As an evangelizing parish we should take the motto “ each one reach one” each family reach another family to this RCIA sessions. Our neighbor may be waiting for our invitation. But before approaching the family pray at least for one week for that particular family that they may be open to accept the faith. Then choose an opportune time and invite them.
Jesus sent the Apostles in pairs. Because according to Jewish law, two witnesses were needed to pronounce a truth. I think there is also a hidden meaning to this point. A basic unit of the church is a family; and a family is of two: a husband and a wife. It is by their witnessing life that one should evangelize their neighbors, friends and their own children.
Is my family an evangelizing one ? If I appreciate my faith, I will be keen to share it with others. When I find a good restaurant or a good movie I share the news with others. The best definition of evangelization I ever heard is: A beggar telling another beggar where he found bread. Let’s share our bread of Good news with others who are hungry for bread.