Mk 6: 7-13
A true possession is a relationship with god and people
Have you recently looked at your closet, attic or basement lately? I’ll bet they are boxes filled with items that we have acquired during the course of the years. Some might be important and sentimental, while others, not so much. Protecting our material possessions can soon take hold over our lives, if we are not careful.
The Gospel message today is quite clear–material goods should not stand in the way of us relating to other people, and most importantly, our relationship with God. Jesus tells his disciples, “. . .take nothing on their journey except a walking stick–no food, no traveling bag, not a coin in the purses of their belts, with the exception of a pair of sandals.” We are reminded in no uncertain terms; the goal of our life is to spend time building human relationships and not acquire things.
Vatican II beautifully articulates we are a people who have been created and willed for our own sake by God. When humanity was created, Adam observed he was alone and different than the other created beings. He also found out quickly there was no other creature of his stature to love. He was alone. God, in all his graciousness remedied the problem by creating a helper that was fit for him. Human life from that point on was created for community, and not isolation.
The love between two human creatures, is a ‘community of persons’ reflecting the love God has for each of us by being created in the image and likeness of the Triune God, who is the perfect community of persons in love.
Our natural drive for community can at times be sidelined by the importance we place on material goods or the alleged fulfillment we may receive from an occupation. In both circumstances, these are just objects, money or titles we have collected. They cannot, and never will, take the place of a person. Only another person can alleviate loneliness. Another person can love you, and be compassionate or generous towards you, as God does so many times in our lives. Jesus tells us to leave the perceived important objects and titles behind because they will never satisfy the inner desire of every human person.
Our Lord urges us to trust in God and other people for their needs. He does however, instruct them to take a walking staff and sandals. Perhaps, Jesus is telling us that what is most important is our journey back to Him. The walking staff and sandals symbolically show us that the journey is what is important, while at the same time, realizing we are still part of this world. A balance if you will, between the spiritual and physical.
What we should think about today is whether we have we placed objects and titles over our relationships and the need of persons in our life. It is only through prayer and listening intently to our Lord’s words to the twelve, can we discern whether our journey has been bogged down by extra food, a purse filled with coins, or an extra tunic. When we trust the Lord to give us what we need, can we more take stock of our lives and clearly see all of the objects, one stacked on another, has been built up to an impenetrable wall between God and other persons.