The mission of the twelve


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. 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.


SHARING IN JESUS’ SAVING MISSION. The account of the missioning of the Twelve invites us to reflect on our own lives as disciples of Jesus today. Three things catch our attention in this mission that are relevant to our times: that the Apostles receive power or authority (Greek exousia) from Jesus; that they are sent two by two into the field; and that they are to be provided only the barest minimum: a staff, a pair of sandals, and a tunic.

First, the Twelve are sent in the power of Jesus; they are his representatives; they bear his name as they go around ministering. They are not fulfilling their own projects. They are co-workers of Jesus. This should be our mindset, too, as we take part in the mission of our communities, our parish, our Church: that we are not out to promote ourselves and our projects, no matter how noble these may be.

Second, the Twelve are sent in twos. No one is going out alone. Jesus knows the importance of a partner or collaborator. The mission they are to accomplish is not easy, and so each of them needs a support and companion. Nowadays, in our parishes or ministries, we do work with other people, and we understand how important it is to be ministering with others. At the same time, we realize it can be challenging, especially when our views clash or when we look at our tasks differently. And, yet, we have to learn to work together, perhaps making compromises in terms of our personal desires and plans for the common good.

Third, the Twelve go out with only the minimum of provisions. They are not to bring bread or money. They are expected to beg their way to support themselves, to rely on the good will of others, to rely on God’s providence. Nowadays, to be sent on mission without the barest of essentials is unthinkable. In fact, the problem is how to tell people to rely on God and lighten their luggage as they embark on a mission. We plan too much, prepare too much, and so lose the value of reliance on God alone.

Whether sent to mission lands or to various ministries in the local Church, as disciples of Jesus, we continue his work of making God’s love known throughout the world. May we never lose this missionary spirit, for there is still so much to be done.

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: