Year B Proper 9 Mark 6 2012
Picture yourself starting a brand new project. You might want to call it mission. In a parish where most of the communicants were government workers, civilian and military, I was always hearing the word, mission. I had understood mission in a religious context. I learned that mission could have a broader meaning. Life is mission. Business is mission. Career is mission. Mission is a good word. It suggests vision that is supported by good planning. Define your mission clearly. State its purpose briefly. Write the rules for implementing it. That will be your business plan. That makes you mission ready.
The Gospel is about mission. St. Mark has a way of zeroing in on the basics. He's very brief and to the point. Let's get the picture. Jesus sets up a "pilot test" project. He wants to test how well his brand new on-the-job trainees can take instructions and make them work. In this Gospel we see him giving them a lesson on some very basic matters. I will use three key words to highlight his work plan: Excess, Time and Respond. In the simplest terms, the basics are: avoid Excesses, use Time wisely, and Respond, don't react, to each new challenge.
I suggest that these basics will work for you too, any time and any place...
Watch Your Step
There are two types of travelers. There are those that travel light; and, there are those who pack for self-preservation.
Or do you cram everything you can into every corner of an extra-large expandable bag, making sure that whatever comes your way on your trip, you are prepared?
Parents traveling with small children embody both extremes. They bring enough "kid gear," emergency medicines, food and drink boxes, stuffed animals, and beloved story-books to keep the children satisfied for weeks. But they're lucky if they get a toothbrush and a change of socks for themselves.
It is the Boy Scouts' motto of "Be Prepared" vs. the new airline mantra of "you pay for every pound." Once you are beyond the "traveling with small children" phase of your life, it is tempting to look at all the "stuff" parents bring along as just so much junk. But, ironically, it is those protective parents who might best embody the supplications of Jesus and the spartan traveling supplies of Jesus' disciples. No, the twelve apostles did not bring "Dora, the Explorer" downloads. No, there were no fruit snacks and water bottles. But . . . Yes, like parents, they did set out to travel without focusing on their own needs and provisions.
In today's text we learn how the disciples, in accordance with Jesus' own directives, took basically nothing as a "back-up" for themselves...