homily – July 12

Mark 6: 7-13

Each of the gospels has it own telling of the time when Jesus sent the apostles out to preach the good news. Mark tells us they were to use a staff and wear sandals but that was it – Matthew on the other hand tells them to leave everything behind – take no gold or silver or copper, no bag, no tunics, no sandals – they are to trust they will be taken care of; ‘the labourer is worthy of his wages’

Jesus sends these men out to people and places unknown to them without even the barest essentials for their journey. In modern terms they were not to pack a lunch or even a snack, they were not to take money or travelers checks, They carried no suitcases, they had no reservations for lodgings or even a predetermined route to follow. They were to rely completely on the kind welcome of those to whom they were sent.

Jesus knew those He sent out on mission would be welcomed by some and rejected by others. He assured them that those who welcomed them and the message they brought would in their turn be welcomed to experience the presence, the love and the healing of God. Those who were unwelcoming would not be so blessed.

That missioning of the Apostles by Jesus continues in the life of the church. At the end of every Mass we hear the words,” the Mass is ended let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord.’ Every Sunday this parish community prays,” may we live this Mass outside these walls in the lives we live, the service we give and work we do and the prayers we pray.”

There was a store front church in the southern states and over its front door were the words, “welcome to the house of the Lord” but on the inside of the doors were words written for those leaving the church, “welcome to the vineyard of the Lord.”

We live this Mass outside these walls in the vineyard of the Lord, by bearing witness to our faith by what we say and what we do in the daily living of our lives. We live this Mass outside these walls in the way we relate to other people, family, friend or strangers. We live this Mass outside these walls when we show concern and sensitivity toward men and women less fortunate than ourselves. We live this Mass outside these walls when we show, in the living of our own lives, that we believe in the good news of God’s love for us made visible in the crucified Christ.

Jesus sent the Apostles free of baggage. We live this Mass outside these walls when we are free of the baggage of past memories of prejudice and bigotry toward men and women of other faiths and cultures, free of a narrow minded image of God and law bound image of how to live a Christian life.

With today’s gospel before us we continue this Mass praying for ourselves and each other that as we live this house of the Lord and go into the vineyard of the Lord we will live this Mass.