Homily for the fifteenth Sunday of the Year - Year B - Mk. 6:7-13


by

Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
 
 

" Jesus called to him the twelve, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. And he said to them, «Where you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. And if any place will not receive you and they refuse to hear you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet for a testimony against them.»


" So they went out and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them. "




Homily:


" Jesus called to him the twelve, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. "


Jesus continues his ministry in Galilee. And in order to accomplish even more apostolic work in a even greater number of places, the Lord sends his disciples, the twelve he has chosen. Christ sends his Apostles in mission: it is in accordance with the decision of the Lord himself, and by his order, that the Apostles will announce the Good News of the Kingdom, casting out demons and healing the sick. It is also in following Christ and by his order that the Church of every age, and thus the Church of today, announces the coming of the Kingdom of God. The Church never performs her mission without making reference to the Order of God, her Lord and Master!


Jesus sends his disciples two by two. Only Saint Mark mentions this detail in his Gospel: Saint Matthew (10:5) and Saint Luke (9:1) do not speak of it on this occasion. But, in another passage, Saint Luke says: "After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two." (10:1) This has a profound meaning that needs to be explained. Indeed, it amounts to saying that the disciple of the Lord is never alone: he is always accompanied by another disciple of the Lord, that is, a man or a woman not chosen by the disciple himself, but rather a person whom the Lord himself chose to be his companion and helper in the apostolate. This person may be an equal, but may also be a superior, perhaps even the Pope himself. The mission of the Church is always accomplished in the company of others: is the Church herself not a "body", the mystical Body of Christ?


" He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. "


If the Lord takes care in choosing his disciples in order to ensure a good beginning to the mission he entrusts to them, he also watches over the mission itself to ensure that it proceeds well. The disciples do not have to worry much about the temporal and material necessities of their mission: Providence is there to take care of all their needs. For the disciples, what is most important is to carry out the Lord's command and preach the Kingdom of God. If the disciples do this, then the Lord, who is almighty in Heaven and on earth, will open the hearts of his believers, and they in turn will provide for the needs of the preachers. All Christians can experience this: if they announce the Kingdom of God in their daily lives, by living in holiness and openly witnessing to their faith in Christ, they will live happily on earth, and, should they have trials to undergo, they will find their consolation in these very trials.


" So they went out and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them. "


The disciples of the Lord must announce the Cross of Christ. May this be the glory of us all! Did Saint Paul not say: "Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Gal. 6:14)? We can all, following in the footsteps of the Apostles, cast out demons and heal the sick. If we live our faith profoundly, if we remain faithful to the grace of God received at baptism or recovered through penance, if we make sure to share our faith and to communicate it to the entire world, God will always be with us and will accomplish his work in us and through us. Demons will be cast out and the sick will be healed!


Let us receive the Eucharist today! In the Eucharist, all of the sacraments find their end and their signification. So, if we cannot anoint the sick with oil, which is done by the priest when administering the sacrament of the sick, let us receive communion with faith and with fervor: let us ask God for the healing of all the sick and the conversion of all sinners! Let us unite ourselves to Mary, let us receive communion with her and for her, in order that her maternal action might be felt in all the Church and in all the world!



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