Then he summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs, giving them authority over unclean spirits. And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, ‘Don’t take a spare tunic.’ And he said to them, ‘If you enter a house anywhere, stay there until you leave the district. And if any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust under your feet as evidence to them.’ So they set off to proclaim repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them.
I have already interpreted this text last year on 6 February. You can read or listen to it in the archives (http://en.elijamission.net/to-proclaim-the-gospel/).
So today I will take just one passage from the text to explain it a little: “he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, ‘Don’t take a spare tunic.’”
It sounds almost absurd to our ears today to live in such a way, because we are used to securing our lives firmly on all sides as far as possible.
Now we must first bear in mind that these words were spoken to the Lord’s disciples, whom he gave a mission. It is part of their mission to rely completely on the Lord’s providence. Indeed, it is an unmistakable characteristic of being sent by Jesus to entrust the care of oneself entirely to God. Everything is included in God’s care for His messengers. The disciples are to concern themselves only with what is essential and with what has been entrusted to them! In such a way of life as that of the disciples, which was imitated again and again in later times, God’s love and presence shine forth especially. It is a joy for the Lord Himself to provide for His messengers on the ways He has provided. The disciples will discover this again and again, even if they sometimes had to overcome earthly fears and worries. Where should they get the bread from, they ask themselves in the Gospel, for example, and Jesus urges them to trust and reminds them of the miracle of multiplying bread that he had just performed (cf. Mk 8:14-21).
Certainly this instruction is given specifically to the disciples and is connected to their mission. But if we try to look a little deeper, there is a message in it for all the children of God.
Even though we are involved in this world in various ways and duties surround us, our focus should be on trusting God. It is useless and even harmful for us to adopt fearful worrying of this world. We should not live as if there were not a loving Father whose heart’s desire is to bestow His goodness on us!
Like the disciples, we have to concentrate on the essential and seek to fulfil the task God has given us, and not be absorbed by worries about the earthly. Let us also remember the shortness of our life span and to “make the best of the present time” (Eph 5:16a), as the Apostle Paul calls us to do.
The basis for this is a deep trust into which God calls us again and again (cf. e.g. Mt 6:25-34). With the loss of paradise, we have simply lost the self-evident basic trust that we have to regain. It is certainly a sore wound on the Lord’s heart when God still perceives the lack of trust that still limits our receptivity to His love and action with us.
A matter of personal concern:
Since I am asked repeatedly how I see the matter of worldwide covid vaccination, I have written a text. It should help to get a clearer picture of this project, which – as we keep hearing – should involve as many people as possible. So far it has been published in German and Spanish:
Harpa Dei accompanies the daily scriptural interpretation or spiritual teaching of Br. Elija, their spiritual father. These meditations can be heard on the following website www.en.elijamission.net