Scripture Lesson: Mark 6:7-13
Meditation: “Jesus . . . began to send them out two by two . . .”
I sometimes wonder if Jesus really knew what he was doing when he sent the disciples out two by two. In so doing he created the model for mission until the end of the ages. I wonder if he could foresee the arguments between church board members, competition and jealousy in religious communities, embarrassing disagreements among the clergy. These things always make me cringe. At the most the interplay of relationships gone awry in church circles is a source of scandal, and at the very least it can be a cause of frustration. Wouldn’t we be free to spread the Gospel in peace if we could each just do our own thing? Think how much more good could be done.
But what if these relationships are actually a central part of announcing the Gospel, rather than simply the way in which it is done? This passage doesn’t speak only of the disciples going forth in pairs. They are also told to seek hospitality in someone’s home and to stay there until they leave the area. They are to preach to others a message that deeply touches their personal lives, bringing them into profound contact with others. And they cure the sick by layng their hands on them. These activities lift up the four virtues of interdependence, hospitality, truth-telling, and healing, all of which require meetings among people.
If Jesus had set up a model of apostolic entrepreneurs, probably a lot of creative ideas would have resulted in projects carried out efficiently. However, egoism and individualism would have marred the message. Instead, with the law of “two by two,” humility, simplicity, reconciliation, and love must be practiced and not primarily preached. Perhaps this is the message.
Jesus, my Lord, I cannot do great things for you. I ask you, though, to help me do what is often the hardest thing of all: to get along with others, to let another have the last word, to look out for what makes another happy, to give in. In this way I will be confident that I too am a missionary in the world today. Amen.
“We should love one another” (1 John 3:11).
Adapted from “Ordinary Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections,” (C) 2011, Daughters of St. Paul