Reflection on 15th Sunday: 11th July 2021

Take nothing for the journey

Some prayer practices encourage us to read a passage of Scripture and be aware of a few words which speak to us, then quietly reflect on them, maybe even repeating them during our time of prayer and throughout the day.

Take nothing for the journey.

Each one of us has our own unique baggage. We indentify ourselves with our possessions, such as wealth, esteem, power, security, achievements and good health. But we are told:

Take nothing for the journey.

The journey in today’s gospel is the journey of going out from ourselves and living the Gospel message wherever we are. St. Paul tells us: “Before the world was made God chose us.” ‘Being chosen doesn’t mean that God likes one over another or finds some better than others. God’s chosenness is for the sake of communicating chosenness to everybody else!’ (R.Rohr) And we are told:

Take nothing for the journey.

We are asked to leave behind our preconceived ideas of having sole ownership of the understanding of the message, of being the only ones who experience God. Richard Rohr talks about Fr Vincent Donovan and his missionary work with the Maasai in Tanzania. When talking to the Maasai about the seven Sacraments, Fr. Donovan described the Sacraments as physical events and encounters in which we can experience the transcendent or the holy. He could see that the Maasai were puzzled and dissatisfied to hear there were only seven Sacraments. One elder finally spoke: “We would have thought that there would be at least 7000!”

Take nothing.

The Maasai understood that if we travel unencumbered by baggage and with an open mind and heart we may also be nourished and sheltered by Nature. In John 1:3 we read, “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” The following legend attributed to St. Francis shows how he allowed Creation to share so many experiences of the Creator: ‘I once spoke to my friend, an old squirrel, about the Sacraments as being means of experiencing God. He got so excited and ran into a hollow in his tree and came back holding some acorns, an owl feather and a ribbon he had found. And I just smiled and said, “Yes, dear, you understand: everything imparts His grace.”

Take nothing. Find God in everyone and in every thing.

On our journey we walk together with so many companions, nourishing each other with our experience of “the fullest truth of our being, and if we have received the love which restores meaning to our lives, how can we fail to share that love with others?”

Pope Francis. The Joy of the Gospel

Gospel Mark 6: 7-13

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs giving them authority over the unclean spirits. And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, “Do not take a spare tunic.” And he said to them, “!f you enter a house anywhere, stay there until you leave the district. And if any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them.” So they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them.