Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Take Nothing For the Journey

Take Nothing For the Journey

September 26, 2012
Wednesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

By Colleen O'Sullivan

Every word of God is tested; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. (Proverbs 30:5)

Jesus 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.
(Luke 9:1-6)


Lord, help me to set aside the things that weigh me down and distract me from journeying in your name.  Let me trust in you alone.


Whenever I fly, I look with envy at my fellow travelers who manage to get everything they need into one carry-on bag.  I don’t think I’ve ever achieved that feat.  I’m too full of what if’s.  What if I need this?  What if I can’t do without that?  What if I get something on an article of clothing?  I’d better pack something extra to wear, just in case.  What if I have nothing to do?  I’d better pack another book, just for safe measure (thank goodness for the invention of the Kindle).

So as I imagine myself among the disciples in today’s Gospel reading, I find Jesus’ words jarring.  “Take nothing for the journey,” he says. I can’t even manage to travel with only a carry-on; how would I survive with nothing?  The very thought fills me with anxiety.  Why aren’t the Twelve protesting?  Don’t they share my concerns?

The reactions of the disciples aren’t recorded, so we don’t know their thoughts.  But Luke makes clear that Jesus gives them all they need for their mission.  He gives them power and authority to go out and vanquish demons and heal the sick.  He sends them to proclaim the Kingdom.  His word is enough for them.  We are reminded of that in our reading from the Book of Proverbs today as well.  God’s word is true, it’s tested, and it is our refuge.

Over the course of our lives as Christians, Jesus will send us on many missions.  Packing and carrying a lot of worldly props won’t take us far.  They weigh us down.  They hinder our progress.   They don’t ultimately provide any kind of security for the journey.  Sometimes we are well along in years before we realize the only thing we really need to pack is our faith in Christ and our willingness to carry out whatever tasks he has entrusted us with.  All the rest of what we drag along turns out to be useless surplus.


Consider your life today.  What mission are you on for Jesus?  What excess baggage are you carrying?  Can you set it aside, trusting that Jesus has given you all that you need for the journey?

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