Readings for Thursday February 3, 2011
First Reading: Hebrews 12:18-19, 21-24
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 48
Gospel: Mark 6:7-13
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick – no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.” So they went off and preached repentance. The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. (Mk 6:7-13)
Do you remember in school when you would get ready to leave for a field trip and that teacher would say something to the effect of, "okay class, today we are going to be on the buddy system." This system for kids was used to keep track of everyone, and it was to help each "buddy" to keep their partner accountable. While many different groups and people use "the buddy system", this is not a new concept. In today's gospel reading, we see a version of the buddy system that Christ used with the disciples.
Christ sent out His disciples two by two, buddy by buddy. While He sent them out this way and gave them the mission of healing and curing people, it does not say exactly why He sent them out this way. Why two by two, I mean, couldn't they cover more ground if they all split up? Sure they could, but then we would have to ask the question; if they were alone, would they even finish their mission? You see, I think Christ used the buddy system with the disciples so that they could encourage and support each other. This was not only a lesson in the power that is given to them by God, but also a lesson in teamwork. When Jesus sent them out, He gave them some pretty hard instructions, they were not to take anything along. They didn't know where they would sleep each night, who would accept them, or how people would react; not exactly an easy task. But even though Christ did not permit them to take material things along, He did have them take along a friend who would be there to help support and encourage when things got really tough. Jesus was not only teaching them to trust and rely on Him, but to also work together and to trust each other.
We all know that our faith journey is not always the easiest. Sometimes it can become very hard and discouraging, and this is why we too need to be on the buddy system. We need people in our lives who will help support and encourage us in our faith journeys. We need people who will remind us that we do not need the things of this world, but rather all we need is God.
So who would you consider to be your "buddy?" Is it your spouse, or significant other? Perhaps it's a family member or close friend. Whoever it is, realize the opportunity each of you have to help each other along your faith journeys. And if you aren't already, it's time to get on the buddy system.
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you bless us with, and thank you for putting people into our lives who help us through. Lord, you have never abandoned us and please help us never to stray from you. We pray for all of our priests, that they may be strengthened in their ministries and in their vows. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.