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Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The reading is from Gospel of Mark 6:7-13.

The Mission of the Twelve – Mark 6:7-13

He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits.

He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick—no food, no sack, no money in their belts.

They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.

He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there.

Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.”

So they went off and preached repentance.

They drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sicke and cured them.

In this passage the preparation for the mission of the Twelve is seen

(1) in the call of the first disciples to be fishers of men.

The Call of the First Disciples – Mark 1:16–20

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen.

Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Then they abandoned their nets and followed him.

He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets.

Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.

(2) then of the Twelve set apart to be with Jesus and to receive authority to preach and expel demons.

The Mission of the Twelve – Mark 3:13–19

He went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him.

He appointed twelve [whom he also named apostles] that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons: [he appointed the twelve:]

Simon, whom he named Peter; James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

Now they are given the specific mission to exercise that authority in word and power as representatives of Jesus during the time of their formation.

In Mark the use of a walking stick and sandals is permitted,

  • He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick—no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. (Mark 6:8-9)

but not in Matthew

  • no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep. (Matthew 10:10)

nor in Luke

  • Carry no money bag,d no sack, no sandals;e and greet no one along the way. (Luke 10:4)

Mark does not mention any prohibition to visit paegan territory and to enter Samaritan towns. These differences indicate a certain adaptation to conditions in and outside of Palestine and suggest in Mark’s account a later activity in the church. For the rest, Jesus required of his apostles a total dependence on God for food and shelter.

Remaining in the same house as a guest

  • He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there.” (Mark 6:10)

rather than moving to another offering greater comfort avoided any impression of seeking advantage for oneself and prevented dishonor to one’s host.

Shaking the dust off one’s feet as instructed by Jesus

  • Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.” (Mark 6:10-11)

served as testimony against those who rejected the call to repentance.

Mark says

  • They drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. (Mark 6:13)

Anointing with oil was a common medicinal remedy during that period, but seen here as a vehicle of divine power for healing.

  • Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint [him] with oil in the name of the Lord, (James 5:14)

Here is Matthews’ version of the above passage.

The Commissioning of the Twelve – Matthew 10:5-15

Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus, “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town.

Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.

Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep.

Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave.

As you enter a house, wish it peace.

If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you.

Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.

Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

The above passage (Matthew 10:5–15) deals with the mission now to be undertaken by the disciples, but the perspective broadens and includes the missionary activity of the church between the time of the resurrection and the parousia.

Here is Luke’ version.

The Mission of the Twelve – Luke 9:1-6

He summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal [the sick].

He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic.

Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there.

And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.”

Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.

Here is a similar passage also found in Luke, but is the mission of the seventy-two

The Mission of the Seventy-two – 10:1-12

On Entering the House, Salute It by James Tissot

After this the Lord appointed seventy [-two] others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit.

He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.

Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.

Carry no money bag,d no sack, no sandals;e and greet no one along the way.

Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’

If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.

Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another.

Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’

Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say,

‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.’

Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand.

I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.

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