15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Amos 7:12-15 II:
7 And he called to him the twelve, and began to send them out two by
two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.
8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no
bread, no bag, no money in their belts;
9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.
10 And he said to them, "Where you enter a house, stay there until you
leave the place.
11 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."
12 So they went out and preached that men should repent.
13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were
sick and healed them.
- A purse can hold a lot of money. A belt can hold a little. Jesus mentioned
both to emphasize that no money should be taken . Traveling without
money was common in that hospitable world.
- Mark allowed for a walking stick (for self defense) and sandals (a must on
rocky roads), though Matthew and Luke forbade them. Such unrealistic
instructions in the latter Gospels had the symbolic meaning of trusting in
God, entering in interdependent relationships with others, staying vulnerable,
and practicing non-violence.
- The instruction to travel light can also indicate urgency: preach the Word
of God now without further delay or preparation.
- "Whatever house you find yourself in, stay there until you leave the
locality" is an instruction against social climbing, moving to richer and
richer houses as one's influence grows.
- Shaking dust of rejecting town: this symbolic and non-violent gesture
makes clear that the inhospitable town rejects others, so they will also be
One Main Point
The disciples are to extend Jesus' ministry in words and in
deeds, while minimizing their dependence on material concerns. Jesus taught
the disciples how to deal with both hospitality and rejection.
- Jesus sent the disciples to heal those with unclean spirits. Who are those
with unclean spirit? What would Jesus want me to do with them?
- Am I ready to start extending Jesus' words and deeds right now, traveling
light, or am I beefing up my financial security first? How do I deal with
hospitality and rejection while doing God's work?
- Have I accepted or rejected those who bring the Word of God to me? Or both?
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A synthesis by the Vietnamese Christian Life (Dong Hanh) Community