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.

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