15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Fr. Simham)
Less Luggage and More Comfort
Those who have travelled by Indian railways must have seen a short notice on every trains. It will at almost every door or window. It says “Less luggage; more comfort”. What they mean to say is: when you travel with less luggage, your journey will be more comfortable. This includes even children. Anyway, why I tell you this is because, Jesus seems to be telling a similar thing to his disciples in the gospel today.
The context is this, Jesus chose the twelve to be his close followers and he is training them to be his apostles or his ambassadors. They are suppose to continue his mission after him. The mission of proclaiming repentance and healing the sick. He is training them for that. As a part of his training he sends them out for a practical test of their skill. It is an essential part of the training.
Jesus is sending his twelve trainees out in pairs to the surrounding villages to go out and do the mission of healing and preaching repentance. That is the best way to learn. As they are about to leave, he gives them some important advice or instructions.
First thing he says is, ‘less luggage more comfort.’ What he means is not so much that if you carry less luggage your journey will be more comfortable. Of course it can also mean that. But when Jesus says “no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses, etc.” what he means more than what we mean by ’less luggage and more comfort.’ He is not just saying go with less luggage your journey will be more comfortable. But he says ‘do not depend on material things for your mission’. The mission you are doing is not compatible with these. These things should not be an hindrance and these things should not be a worry for you in your mission. You are the apostles. You are those who are sent out with a message. Your message is more important than the materials you need. Reaching the message to the people concerned should be your aim, not the other things. As an apostle you are posted letters. ( A+POSTED LETTER).Excuse me for twisting the word. But it makes perfect sense. As a posted letter, your aim should be your destiny not the post box. That is their first instruction.
And the second advice is this: They should aware that not every one will welcome them and their message. There will be some who will oppose them. Some who will not welcome them. Some who will ridicule them as they did with Amos in the first reading. And say all sorts of things that will hurt them. They say to Amos “You seer, go to the other place, Judah and prophesy there so that you can get some money, make some profit. As if to say he is doing it for money. So Jesus warns them of these things and asks them to ignore these things and shake the dust of their feet and walk. Don’t be put off by these things.
These are the special instructions to those who are sent in God’s name.
Now what do they things mean for us. Let me be straight forward. I don’t know any other way saying these things.
One, listen to those who come to you in the name of the Lord. Do not ignore them or ridicule them, lest they shake the dust of their feet and leave. Instead be open and receptive.
Second, look after them and support them. Labourer deserves his wages. It is your duty.
Fr. Showreelu Simham