Relying on God Alone

July 15, 2018

This is one of the more insightful Gospel passages in all of St. Mark’s testimony to the Good News.  It invites us to look at how discipleship is commissioned in the early Church.  Jesus sends them out two by two, rather than alone.  This is not the most efficient way.  He could cover more territory in less time if He sent them out one by one.  However, this speaks to the importance of how the Good News is communicated beyond words.  The two by two grouping is an invitation to look at how we love one another while we use words to spread the Gospel.  It is not just about words.  The greatest homily does not save anyone.  The greatest orator can do nothing for salvation.  Words without actions are dead.  Jesus backed up all His parables by the genuine love with which He spoke and the way He treated others.  He extended love and forgiveness.  The eyes of the poor knew they were blessed by the way Jesus embraced them as He told them blessed are the poor.  He spoke of forgiveness but also forgave those, even those who betrayed Him.  Actions speak louder than words.

The second part of the Gospel commissioning that invites us to be transparent is the fact He tells them to take nothing with them.  Rely on God alone.  No food, no money, no second tunic.  It is not about what one wears or what one has that is capable of saving anyone.  Once again, reality hits.  The more we rely on the stuff that surrounds us to impress or to inspire, the more we are deceiving ourselves.  Things cannot save us, nor are things the way to proclaim the Gospel.  Billboards can capture our attention, but they cannot sustain a journey.  A clip on the television or a trailer for a movie might grasp our attention, but they don’t make us like the show or the movie.  The acting, the music and the drama is what captivates us to enjoy them.

We are to rely solely on God.  We are to rely completely on God.  We are to trust so much that we believe God will provide everything we need.  To live like this gives us authority in the belief of inclusion.  God’s Kingdom is for all, it is for those who have and those who have not.  To be able to communicate this we cannot rely on gimmicks or gadgets.  Pure grace, pure truth and pure trust is what inspire, captivate and sustain us.  Today God is inviting us to a deeper reality in the way we live our faith.  Too often we have confused our opinion of our faith journey with our opinions of the music, the homily, the temperature of the church.  If someone is sitting in our seat, we may become upset.  If the person in front of us is talking or texting, we are distracted.  What people wear becomes a point of contention.  All of this moves us away from our reliance solely on God.  When we trust Him and Him alone, we see with new eyes the goodness of everyone.  We see the grace alive in everyone. We rely on His vision to know all are redeemed by the blood of the Savior.  This place is a place of holiness.  It’s where we must strive to bring ourselves.

In the weeks ahead, let us rely on God and praise His holy name. When we do this, we can find joy!

Reverend John J. Ouper