Thursday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Upon first reading of today’s gospel passage (Mark 6: 7-13), one might reflect on how we, as Jesus’ disciples, are also called, like the first Twelve, to go out into the world to preach the Good News and heal those in need of healing. And this is true, at least in our own way, in our own walk of life. Today, however, I would like to reflect on how sometimes we are the ones in need of hearing Jesus’ words, and the ones in need of healing. In Mark’s gospel Jesus instructs the disciples to stay in a house that welcomes them until they are ready to leave that area, and to “leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony again them” in whatever place does not welcome the disciples or listen to them.
If we reflect on this passage as the ones to whom the disciples are going to share Jesus’ message and healing, we can ask ourselves, “Am I open to people who are bearing Jesus’ word or healing in my life in some way, or do I turn them away?” I know that I sometimes get into a place in my spiritual life where I believe I have it all pretty well figured out and have the answers that I need, and I don’t even realize that I am closing the door on someone who has been led to bring me the Word in some new way, some way that I may not have seen or been willing to see.
We can become isolated in our spiritual journey and miss out on so much richness that sharing the journey with others can offer. I think it’s significant that Jesus sent the disciples out “two by two,” not solo. We are a communal people, and part of our responsibility as disciples of Jesus is to be open to others bearing Jesus’ message, Jesus’ love, and sometimes Jesus’ healing, in our lives.
In the beautiful language of today’s first reading (Hebrews 12: 18-19, 21-24), the author of Hebrews is contrasting the covenant of Moses with the covenant of Christ. The author argues that the Mosaic covenant is shown to have originated in fear of God and threats of divine punishment, while with the covenant in Christ we are given direct access to God. Christ’s covenant makes us children of God and members of the Christian community. Again, we see the relational aspects of being followers of Jesus.
Let us take some time to reflect on whether or not we are opening our hearts and our lives to the bearers of the Good News. Is there a message for us that we turn away from because we find it too challenging? Or is our pride getting in the way? Are we perhaps not ready to accept what God is offering to us through them? Or are we too busy to even take the time to listen?
Let us pray for an openness to welcome God’s messengers in our life, and openness to sharing our spiritual journey with others on the path.