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July 11, 1997     The Message
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1,1997 a The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 11 'mentary -- Lring in Jesus' mission: Missionary instructions Commentary for July Sunday: Ordi- Cycle B: Mark 6:7-13 Last Sunday's gospel ended with from his hometown, There he was treated with found little response to '. The result, Jesus contin- of preaching the reign in other villages. schedule of Jesus' ministry, time privately teach- He had chosen for Work 12 from among his disci- work was "to be with him be sent out to preach and have authority to Mark 3:14. With their initial train- Jesus sends them out to extend word "apostle" means "one who Mark Will not call them "apostles" return from this mission. now adds his version of Jesus' missionary Such instructions are found also in and Luke but with some differences. It is !Possible that all the Christian Churches had set of missionary instructions derived but adapted to differing circumstances. of missionary instructions is found in a century document called "The Didache," Teaching of the Twelve Apostles." Mark Jesus sent the disciples in pairs. This been a custom adopted from Jesus' first John the Baptist. We are told, that John the Baptist sent a pair of to obtain information from Jesus. The continued this practice, as we see in 8Acts of Apostles, e.g. Peter and John, Barn- Saul, Paul and Silas. also recalls that Jesus had given them By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST power over unclean spirits. Their power seems to have been limited, since Mark depicts the apostles attempting to cast out demons but without success in 9:18. The father of a sick child has to turn to Jesus for a successful exorcism. The dis- ciples later ask Jesus why they had no power over this particular demon. Jesus answers, "This kind can be driven out only by prayer." Exorcisms were quite common before, during, and after Jesus' time. There were even exorcism contests between disciples of Jesus and other Jewish exorcists, see Luke 9:49-50 and Acts 19:13-19. Demon possession was a common diagnosis for about any illness. Thus Matthew and Luke add to Mark's version that Jesus gave them power to cure all diseases. Jesus' instructions in detail: the disciples were to take nothing for their journey except a staff in Mark. Luke and Matthew allow no staff. They were to take no bread, no bag, no money in their belts. A bag could contain a lot of money, a belt only a little, but they were to work without any financial securi- ty. Mark's version allows them to wear sandals but Matthew's Jesus forbids them. All three versions forbid the missionaries to take along two "tunics." The Greek word used for "tunic" means the inner garment worn closest to the skin. When they enter a house, in that house they are to stay for the dura- tion of their preaching in a particular town. The object of this regulation seems to have been to pre- vent sod?al climbing, staying at one home until a better one is found. Matthew's version permits mis- sionaries to scout around for someone "who is wor- thy," then to stay with that person. We learn from The Didache mentioned above that traveling mis- sionaries could be a problem for the early Church. This document gives specific directions for deter- mining true missionaries from moochers. For exam- ple, "Let him not stay more than one day, or if need be, a second as well, but if he stays three days, he is a false prophet." If he asks for money when he leaves, he is false prophet. If he does not do what he teaches, he is false prophet, etc. Finally, Mark's Jesus tells the disciples, "If any place will not receive you and they refuse to hear you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet for a witness against them." This action may have been intended as a curse. As such we do not like to attribute these words to Jesus but to later practice. Paul however used such a custom according to Acts 13:51 and 18:6, but Paul was not above cursing his enemies, see Galatians 5:12 and I Corinthians 16:22, even though he preached against doing this, Romans 12:14. Perhaps the gospels intend such a reaction as thought-provoking for those against whom it is done and not'intended to call down upon them some violent reprisal. Such were the first century instructions for Christian missionaries. Obviously the details may not all apply t 9 our time. The limitations they placed on the missionaries were intended not only to show com- plete confidence in God, but also to allow those who benefit from the gospel to share in the work of pro- claiming the gospel. As Paul wrote in I Corinthians 9: 11, "If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits?" The mis- sionary instructions demonstrate how seriously early Christianity went about spreading the message from and about Jesus. It was a serious obligation. Paul wrote: "Woe to me, ifI do not preach the gospel!" But isn't this the obligation of every Christian? The gospel asks each of us to respond in our own way and according to our circumstances to the instructions of Jesus, to bring healing and knowledge to the world. Readings: Amos 7:12.15; Ephesians 1:3-14. DUBOIS COUNTY BANK MEMBER OLD NAT1ONAL BANCORP Member FDIC FIVE" STAR SERVICE BANK  ...Peop.les I rust Company SOUTH MAIN STREET P.O. BOX 191 LINTON, INDIANA 47441 TF S Tray00,00, Fert00li00 Service.: Inc. 68 Montgomery, Indiana 47558 Donald J. Traylor President Phone: 486-3285 eyer, Church, e, invite the Parish Grounds Street and Mt. Vernon Avenue or Dinners and Dumplings will be at 11:00 a.m. ditioned cafeteria II also be available. Sacred Heart Church MMER SO(IAL SundaX, July 20 "Where customers send their friendsP' i 9mowo),!Wh01e I.T .00her. & I the ] Farn|y! ..tt--,, e P,e us200, sou00 ! every.our 1-800-937-USA1 , I I I I . I, I , I I I I * 1 I lit I Ilrl I I