|Reading 1||Response||Reading 2||Gospel|
|Am 7:12-15||Ps 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14||Eph 1:3-14||Mk 6:7-13|
The mission of a disciple
During Ordinary time the Lectionary readings present stories and teachings from Jesus’ everyday ministry. This week’s readings invite RCIA participants and the believing community to examine the Twelve’s discipleship as well as our own.
In the first reading from the prophet Amos, God sends Amos to the people of Israel (the northern kingdom) because the northern prophets fail to proclaim God’s message. The priest Amaziah, speaking for the king, supports the status quo: the royal house and patriotism. The prophet Amos, speaking for God, denounces the king and government for its injustices and inhuman policies. The Lectionary editors pair this reading with today’s gospel to compare the mission of Amos’ mission to preach to God’s people in Israel with the disciples’ mission to preach to God’s people in Galilee. The disciple’s role is often to challenge the status quo to bring about God’s justice.
The second reading is from the beginning of the letter to the “saints who are in Ephesus.” This letter will be read continuously for the next six weeks. The opening verses are almost certainly drawn from hymns and liturgy of the late first century. Ephesians preserves Paul’s teachings by further developing images from Paul’s authentic letters in new ways. The author celebrates the role of Christ and the believing community in God’s plan to unite all things in heaven and on earth. In the mystery of God’s will, God has destined Christians to sonship in Christ; they are redeemed through his blood, forgiven, experience the richness of grace, and heard the word of truth.
Mark’s gospel picks up from last week’s reading, when Nazareth rejects Jesus. Today Jesus sends out the Twelve in pairs to spread his message of conversion and healing. The following words indicate this reading is not only about the Twelve’s mission, but also the discipleship of all believers:
- Having summoned them. Mark uses “summon” when Jesus first calls the Twelve (Mk 3:13). Mark uses the same “summon” to call the disciples (Mk 10:42; Mk 12:43) and the crowds (Mk 7:14; Mk 8:34).
- He began to send them. The Greek verb ἀποστέλλω (ah-poh-STEHL-loh) means “to send out” or “to dispatch.” It is the root of the Modern English word apostle.
- Take nothing on the road. The word Mark uses means “a road,” “a journey,” “a path,” or “the Way.” The first-century believing community described themselves as “followers of The Way.” In Greek, the word for disciple means literally “someone who walks the same road or walks behind a leader.”
Today’s readings remind RCIA participants and the believing community that preaching, exorcising, and healing are the signs of God’s kingdom. Today’s gospel links the ministries of Jesus and his historical disciples with Mark’s community’s work, as well as our own: all preach, and all meet rejection and failure in the mission. The believing community can never forget its origin as a missionary community. The ekklesia is a community that is called, sent, travels light, proclaims the word fearlessly, confronts evil powers, and demonstrates God’s healing power. Where are we being sent? What do we take with us? What are we proclaiming? How do we speak against evil? How do we heal others?