enTRUSTed  – Luke 9:1-6 – Wednesday 25th week in ordinary time.

enTRUSTed  – Luke 9:1-6 – Wednesday 25th week in ordinary time.

This text based on the Gospel of Mark 6:7-31 must be read in conjunction with the entire section of Luke Chapter 7:1- 8:56 of which this text is the culmination. In chapter 7 and 8 Jesus shared the nature of the kingdom mission with the disciples; now he hands on the mandate to execute that mission to the twelve. However, Jesus wed great ‘power and authority’ to compassionate love and service.

There is an unwritten ‘promotion’ in these six verses. The disciples have moved from being faithful followers to entrusted collaborators. At the ascension, Jesus will once again reiterate this mandate; “as the father has sent me so I am sending you.” Jesus has entrusted his disciples to carry on the very task that he set out to do. This collaborative ministry should not be lost on us for the entrusting of mission is a handover of divine trust. Jesus places his trust in us to do what he began. Ministry is thus a privilege and not a duty in the Church.

But this mandate came with riders; they had to travel light and travel fast for they had to go ‘everywhere’ (verse 6). Ministry can’t be shackled with niggling concerns or material attachments. This was one journey which demanded zero baggage allowance. Baggage, physical and emotional can slow you down and simply complicates life; the collaborator had to be unencumbered by baggage.

Perhaps the words of Jesus leave the Church red faced today. These are hard words and the verse seem less embarrassing when glossed over for over the centuries we have become a church with much wealth. Living in total providence seems easier to preach when the reserves in one’s bank are full. Yet when resources are scarce, creativity abounds and that brings spontaneity to ministry. Perhaps we as an institutional Church need to take a hard look at what we have become. The death of spontaneity and creativity could be an indicator of a Church that has found comfort in its structures and financial resources. Pope Francis has often pleaded for a poor Church for the poor.

Jesus also addressed another reality that his collaborators would face. It is true that they were armed with great power to cast out demons and that itself could be a dazzling show for any non-believer, yet there are those who are loathe to any message of faith. The disciples are taught to move on for God’s love cannot be forced on people.

However, those who wish to be ‘left alone’ or those who reject the message of faith should know that choices have consequences. In a dramatic symbolic gesture, Jesus asks the disciples to shake the dust off their feet as they leave such disbelieving people who reject the Gospel. The Rabbis at the time of Jesus shook heathen dust off their feet when they left Gentile territory so as to bring nothing back to Jerusalem that would be considered unclean. You have a choice to reject the Good news but you should also know that there are consequences to every action.

The ministry of the twelve collaborators was most certainly effective for the next pericope tells us that it was enough to get the attention of King Herod who was ‘perplexed’. With blood on his hands this King should have been terrified especially since many saw in the ministry of the twelve the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18:15. Effective ministry makes head turn and take notice that the Good news is being preached.

What is our take away?

  1. Christ entrusted his Church to all of us not just to the twelve. Like the twelve, we the reconstituted Israel are not called merely to follow Christ but to be ‘another Christ.’

  2. We are all collaborators in the ministry of preaching and healing. Christ wishes his Church to be healed in both body and soul. The ministry of healing and teaching is mandated by Christ for all the baptized.

  3. When the disciples were sent to proclaim the Good News, they had just one medium; it had to be done physically and by word of mouth. The digital world of today offers every Christian every opportunity to make known the message of Christ and to use it only for our personal glorification is indeed an act of selfishness; we betray the mandate of Christ.

  4. Finally, we could ask ourself what is the dust that I need to shake off? What is it that sticks to me that still tarnishes me and leaves my ministry and life hindered before God?

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