|Ordaining Of The Twelve Apostles (1886-1894) by James Tissot|
From the Holy Gospel according to Saint Mark [6:7-13]
Jesus 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. 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. The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
“Familiarity breeds contempt”, the old proverb says. Familiarity causes us to see things according to our prejudices.
The result is, that we do not see things as they really are. We fail to see things as GOD sees them. We overlook the majesty of the commonplace!
Our Lord Jesus sent the Apostles out as messengers. He sent them out without anything to lean on or to help "sell" the message of His Gospel. That's because Our Lord Jesus wants the Gospel to "sell" itself.
The appearance, the clothing, the packaging of the messengers must never interfere with the proclamation of the message! The truth of the Gospel is what will persuade the hearers.
And that is why, for over 2000 years, GOD has revealed His power and glory through the glorious majesty of the commonplace!
GOD saved the world through a commonplace Carpenter from a commonplace town called Nazareth. To make sure that the messengers of His Gospel would not lose their closeness with His Heavenly Father, the Lord Jesus sent them out with nothing — nothing but the message of the Gospel. That way, His messengers could remain dependent only upon GOD for their success. The central focus of their lives would remain Christ and His Gospel message — NOT their clothes or jewelry or luggage.
GOD has repeated this pattern of using the commonplace, the familiar, the ordinary throughout the history of salvation.
For example: In The Book of the Prophet Amos [7:12-15]:
Amaziah, priest of Bethel, said to Amos, "Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah! There earn your bread by prophesying, but never again prophesy in Bethel; for it is the king's sanctuary and a royal temple."
Amos answered Amaziah, "I was no prophet, nor have I belonged to a company of prophets; I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores. The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me, 'Go, prophesy to my people Israel.'"
Amos was from the poverty-stricken Southern part of Israel. He was a shepherd and a gardener. Amos looked, dressed, and conducted himself like a poor and simple shepherd and gardener.
Yet, GOD sent Amos to prophesy to the wealthy, decadent people in the North of Israel. Because, GOD's Word — not the appearance of the messenger- is all-important!
The Gospel passage above reveals that Our Lord Jesus does not call superwomen and supermen to be His messengers, His disciples.
The Lord called 12 ordinary people to do extraordinary things: to cast out demons and heal the sick. Our Lord Jesus was not very interested in powerful, exceptionally beautiful, or well-educated people to spread GOD's Word. He called the commonplace: the fearful, the weak, the timid, the ordinary.
Our Lord Jesus is calling you and me to the same discipleship that existed 2000 years ago. His call is an invitation and a challenge to deliver His message to the people/the evils/and the injustice in the world of our time.
Once we realize the enormity of GOD's love for us, we ordinary people can be empowered by Our Lord Jesus to cast out the demons of our times -- to work with Jesus and for Jesus in redeeming the miseries of the world.
However: Our Lord also expects US to recognize and accept His Presence and His Message of Salvation being delivered to US in the glorious ordinariness of the people around US — even people we think could not possibly be messengers of Christ's Gospel. He is sending the messages all the time; but are we receiving them?
For instance, messengers who are attractive, appealing, popular - may complicate or hinder the message of the Gospel. That's why we must ask ourselves:
✠ Do I ignore someone who could be Christ's messenger challenging me to
live the Gospel?
✠ Am I withholding my attention because of the messenger's appearance?
Clothes? Lack of sophistication?
✠ Do I "tune out" the messenger because the messenger happens to be flawed,
scarred, or unhealthy?
✠ Do I fail to notice Christ's messenger to me — because the messenger speaks with
an accent? Or is of a different race or culture than my own? Or because the messenger
is elderly? — or a teenager? — or a little child?
Remember: throughout the history of salvation, GOD has repeatedly employed the ordinary, the commonplace, to achieve His saving plan for each one of us. GOD sent Someone who seemed to be just a Carpenter to save us from our sins and evil. That Carpenter sent uneducated fishermen and farmers to spread His message that we can be redeemed by becoming completely dependent on GOD.
The prophet Amos; the 12 apostles — all heard GOD calling them to discipleship - to be His messengers. They labored to fulfill their mission as perfectly as they could. WE also have heard the call. Are we truly trying to fulfill our mission?
“Familiarity breeds contempt”, the old proverb says. Familiarity causes us to see things according to our prejudices. The result is, that we do not see things as they really are.
That is why we must constantly pray for 20-20 spiritual vision to recognize Christ's Body and Blood present in the Holy Eucharist and coming to us in what seem to be ordinary bread and wine. Christ is offering His Body and Blood, His Divine Life, to be received by imperfect, unlikely, yet nonetheless redeemed people: You and me!
Thanks be to GOD for revealing His love, and power, and glory — through the glorious majesty of the commonplace!