Lectio Divina 2021-07-09

Our Lectio Divina for this Friday took the reading for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B.
Mk 6:7-13 He began to send them out.

One

‘He gave them authority over the evil spirits.’

I remember asking a priest friend why the disciples were sent out in pairs and he said, with a smile on his face, “To protect them from women.” I’ll leave that thought with you.

This passage shows the power of Jesus, given to Him by the Father, to enable mere mortals to cleanse and heal others. It immediately makes me think of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the healing power of God through His priests in the confessional and in the act of Transubstantiation during the Consecration.

We must take care of our clergy and pray for their ministry. In this time of ageing priests and the difficulties the Bishop has in trying to cover all parishes with ever fewer priests, I pray for vocations to the priesthood and for our parishes and for ourselves, that we will always have access to Holy Mass. This past eighteen months has shown us how valuable streamed Masses have become for so many people and although it would obviously be better to be able to attend Mass in person to receive the Blessed Sacrament, it has literally been a God send to me and to those of us who have been shielding and don’t yet feel safe enough to return, physically, to Mass. I pray that the streamed Masses will continue for the housebound and elderly once things return to ‘normal.’ I have used this example as a Catholic because of my own circumstances but I know the same will apply to all denominations regarding streamed Services in their own churches.

I also pray for all of you, for your safety and protection in the coming months.

Two

I recently read that Pope Francis wants “a poor church for the poor” and he bases that on today’s Lectio. The church has often neglected those living on the margins of our society. The Kingdom of God has little to do with affluence; it is all about the simplicity of life and sharing with the needy.

Jesus sends out his disciples with very little. He wants them to put all their trust in God’s providence. Jesus wants his disciples to make no show, he wants them to proclaim the gospel in a simplistic way to reach as many people as possible.

The disciples are bringing the good news by word of mouth. Many of those listening would be unable to read. They would judge the message by the messengers Jesus had sent out. It makes me very mindful of the fact that just as the lives of the disciples were judged then , so I too must as a Christian live a life worthy of the gospel message.

Lord strengthened by your Holy Spirit may I radiate your love to those I meet. Give me courage to witness for you in my words , actions and how live my life.

Three

V 7= gave them authority over. The word authority can mean power to control. The government has used its authority to control us these past seventeen months. We accept this type of authority because we understand their reasons. But I think of the kind of authority the disciples were given by Jesus is hard for me to grasp.Suddenly these ordinary men were given amazing power to change people’s lives and set them on a different path.

What faith they showed. It made me realise the awesome power of the Holy Spirit. The disciples showed complete faith in what Jesus instructed them to do. I need to show the same faith and let the power of the Holy Spirit guide me. One day the world will accept the authority of Jesus and what a wonderful world it will be.

Four

Hello everyone

I don’t know about others but when I leave the house I have a mental “checklist” – rain coat, warm jacket, water and my trusted handbag containing my phone, keys, and purse (and all the other rubbish that collects in the bottom). Then I almost always jump into my car. I take so much physical baggage but also my mental baggage too. Yesterday my son in law was taking my grandson to an activity loaded up with a rucksack, water etc. My daughter laughed and said she would only take water and her car keys. We are all so very different and I would like to be as one who “travels light”.

Jesus sends them out with instructions to take nothing except a staff which was something all travellers took with them.

I find this hugely challenging! Jesus calls us to not only go out to preach, teach, heal the sick etc but also to take nothing with us. Would I have the faith and trust to do what he is asking? In today’s world would it be a sensible thing to do or would it be a little reckless? Maybe the “staff” has a different meaning.

We need to be safe in the world but we also need to have the faith and trust that we will be given all we need as we go out and spread the gospel using the great powers that God has given us.

Love and blessings

Five

Greetings to you all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The passage today had often baffled me where it says “shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them” ( Mark 6: 11). My attention today is however drawn more to verse 13 which says ” They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them” because I believe in the healing ministry of Christ Jesus and in this passage, He gave us the authority to heal in His name. He instructed us to take nothing for our spiritual journey except to trust totally in Him. Sandals, we take because we have to walk the walk and in walks there will be tribulations but no shirt because He says we should not be anxious about anything since He even adorns the flowers of the field.

Most churches have a healing ministry. I belong to the healing ministry team in my church but I am disappointed that many Christians believe that their ministry gives false hope.

Those who believe such, I think are those Jesus is saying we should restrain from so that we do not get contaminated. (verse 11 above).

I strongly believe in the power of God in Jesus to heal but it requires a lot of understanding in faith.

I am grateful to Lectio Divina which gives me the opportunity to meditate on God’s Word and to go out to do His bidding, albeit in twos, but in our case, as in this group.

Let us pray in the authority of Jesus for all those who are sick among us, physically, emotionally or mentally even financially to be healed in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Pax.

Six

Friends

Recently, I’ve come to see this story as a guideline to accepting hospitality.

As Christians, we often emphasise giving over receiving, but here they are sent out without food, without money, and with only one tunic.

Two tunics each might have tempted them to spend a night in the open, especially if they were receiving abuse!

So they were obliged to accept food and lodging from whomever would offer it, and regardless of whether it was modest or luxurious.

And also to stay in the first place until they left. Otherwise there might have been competition to offer better hospitality elsewhere, and a temptation for them to switch lodgings for somewhere comfier or offering better food.

But what they DO have is a staff and a significant other; both are to lean on, one physically and the other metaphorically!

Not everybody is in a position to offer food and accommodation, but another translation of “hospitality” is to provide a safe space, which could include emotional space. And that is something we can all do.

When I walked Wainwright’s Coast-to-Coast there was one particular B&B, in Reeth, where their first question on arrival was, “May we wash your socks?” For tired and sweaty walkers, that’s hospitality!

We may still feel that it’s better to give than to receive, but there is a lesson here about gracious and gratitudinous acceptance of whatever comes our way.

Pax

Seven

God afternoon everyone

Yet again you have all fed me. How rich is the Word of God.

Jesus sends his apostles out completely dependent on peoples hospitality, in total trust for water, food and shelter. They have no resources other than God and themselves.

He does ask them very practically to look after their feet ie wear sandals.

So I have to walk with God in total trust. He will give me the words to say to speak of Him and life with Him. I don’t need to make a fuss when people won’t listen. I will walk away and on.

Many blessings to you all

Eight

“So they set off to preach repentance.”

This sounds like a continuation of John the Baptiser’s ministry and a little at variance with the authority Jesus has just given to them to heal the sick and cast out demons.However, it is how Mark also portrayed Jesus taking up the gauntlet after John was imprisoned: “Repent; believe the Good News; the Kingdom of God is at hand.”

For me, today, it poses a question. It is the chicken and egg question. Can one truly repent before truly hearing the good News? Ways can be changed because of fear of breaking the law, or of consequences. We might have examples of that from the restrictions imposed as a result of the Virus. People followed the rules more as they saw the spreading of it.

In Catholic teaching, fear of Hell is an acceptable reason for sorrow for sin. I confess to having difficulties with that and the further questions it poses. I find it deeply sad that people would live rightly simply because they fear dire eternal consequences. So much missed of the wonderful life in the Spirit and Peace that Jesus bequeathed to us.

Back to my question. Today it has seemed to me that a reversal of that saying is more appropriate: Believe the Good News and repent.

As I endeavour, in very poor fashion, to do a little evangelising as we are prompted to, I cannot envisage telling people to change their ways to be effective, without putting to them first the Good News of God’s love and Salvation. ( I seem pretty ineffective anyway but God alone knows what happens to the seeds sown). In the Gospels the evidence seems to be that it was the signs and wonders -the experience- of God’s love that led the people to change their ways and believe the Good News.

The Cor at Lumen Christi Christian community, who have an evangelical ministry, at present on line, insist that their teachings are not recorded as they do not want the preaching to be separated from the evidence which always follows of signs and wonders: healings, miracles, prophecy.

This is rambling and probably muddled thinking

“We love God because he first loved us”. So, I pray he will lead me always to know his loving way and give me the grace to correct my way in the process. I pray that, open to his guidance, I will help others as he leads me; he knows the hearts and minds of each one.

Love and blessings to each of you.

Nine

Jesus is presenting a different kind of church. Not one that is in the hands of the priests wearing fancy clothes and preaching in a church building. But a church built on living one day at a time and a dependence on God to show the way. Men and women with nothing, identifying with the poor and helping the sick and suffering. A living faith based on attraction rather than promotion, a faith based on love not fear, a faith that is building communities of equals.

A part of me has always wanted that kind of faith, to live one day at a time depending on God, not being held hostage by that false sense of security and holding on to the life I have. It spells freedom but so does a home, money in the bank and comfortable surroundings.

God is reaching out every moment showing me how he wants me to live, what he wants me to do with the gifts and talents he has given me. Am I hearing and responding to his call? Sometimes the answer is yes and other times I am fearful and cling on to what I have.

Lord give me the courage to let go and respond to what you are asking of me. Strengthen my faith and show me where I can reach out to those in need, sharing all that you have given me.

Ten

Wow, what a training the disciples were being given. No money, nothing extra just God. With instruction to stay where they were welcomed ! Waiting on the Holy Spirit to tell them when to go and how long to stay. All of it was preparation for their task a head of bringing Jesus to the nations.

Putting our hand into God’s hand is both scary and exciting. What will he do ? How will he do it ? I’m sure all these questions ran through the disciples minds. All I know is that the only way forward is with God, he answers both big and little prayers and whispers ‘ trust me ‘ I once heard someone say that courage is not the absence of fear it’s being afraid but still doing whatever we are called by God to do. Were the disciples afraid ? I believe yes, but they stepped out and saw what God could achieve through them, and reached so many people.

God bless you all

Eleven

‘take nothing for the journey’, ‘shake off the dust of your shoes’

As usual, a very familiar Gospel turns to be full of surprises. Today I was seeing myself called by the Lord, to be SENT.

My first thought is ‘Who, ME?’ What an honour, the Lord trust me with this mission. It is exciting, this is a new adventure, a new beginning, I would meet lots of different people. Great!

But then, I started worrying, and thinking on the responsibility, what if I fail, what if things don’t go well, it is scary… everything is an incertitude.

And yet, the Lord says ‘off you go’, adding, ‘and take nothing with you’.

Wait a minute, not a spare anything!? I think about how is my suitcase when I travel, and worst I imagine how are those of my girls, I can add even a pin in. I wish I would be able to go without anything.

What are you saying Lord? ‘I mean that you just only need to trust in me, I will provide all you need’

Travelling ‘ultra-light’, means not attachment to material things, only God is needed in my path. All I need to do is entrusting my day to the Lord, He marches before me, He knows where I will go, whom I will encounter, all the adversities I will face. Though I won’t do this alone, He has already foreseen I will need support, and encouragement, and so He is sending somebody else with me.

Thinking of it, I can see how many people have shared/ are sharing with me the path, how many have supported/ are supporting me.

Today you all are my path mates, the disciples sent with me, thank you for your support and encouragement in the daily difficulties. I would not be able to do it on my own.

Then I was caught by something else. After proclaiming the Good News of Our Lord, if we are not well received, the Lord says not to keep a grudge, neither continue insisting, just to ‘move on’, to somewhere/ somebody else.

I feel grateful, the Lord has chosen Me, as has chosen all and each one of us, has trusted me/ you to be one of His heralds, He will provide for me/ you. And I just only need to Let Go, to put everything in Your Almighty Hands Lord.

Blessed and praised is the Lord, my God. Blessed is His Holy Name. Amen.