July 15th Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sufficient for the journey
Most of us are creatures of habit. We establish a routine for good or bad. Late night cuppa, maybe even later to bed, put out clothes, prepare school lunches, a walk, a cycle, a run, a shower. Check for Emails and messages and crikey I forgot to feed the cat, head out to car, check at door for keys, wonders “is it bin day?”, appliances on/off, phone charged, windows closed.
There are a myriad of simple, ordinary chores that we undertake- but its striking about how tied we to tasks which are really about our clothing and appearance, our possessions and our property, our money and our “things” in general. It does seem that our possessions really possess or “own” us.
So the detail in Jesus’s instruction is striking, no food, no backpack, no money, no spare clothes or shoe-wear and this was for a long journey. They’re actually being called to a radical dependence on God and on God’s providing for whatever they might need along the way. Somebody once said that the minimum is a great teacher… and its true. I have often admired the modern seminarian who invariably is leaving behind several years of work to begin studies for priesthood. It was so much easier for us at age 18. We didn’t have much to let go of- while they actually do.
Be it much or little we are being asked to let go of the little we have so that nothing will distract from the appointed task. We have a lot to learn in this regard. In recent weather alerts- we showed our ability to help one another and also to hoard basic supplies like there was no tomorrow. The humble Sliced Pan achieved semi-divine status.
Could we envisage even a day or a few hours without our favourite possession? It’s holiday time and some are heading off. Luggage allowances are not targets, they’re limits. Can we do with less? After all, whatever about our possessions, we are as St. Paul put it (2ndreading) God’s possession- called to be spotless and to live through love. But can we come to know and believe any of this in any real way when our lives and days are so cluttered with what we possess and are so dependent and attached to them. Jesus has just experienced rejection in his own hometown of Nazareth. To prepare them, Jesus carefully spells out what they are to do when they experience their own rejection. Shake it off. Don’t let the dust of resentment, bitterness, or blames cling to you but move onwards. Travelling lighter means journeying further.