15th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B - 11/7/2021 - Gospel: Mk 6: 7-13
Before following Jesus, the apostles were fishermen. They had their own boats and nets for the trade. They had left everything to follow Jesus, and Jesus promised to make them 'fishers of men Mk 1:17'. This is the first time Jesus sent His apostles to do work experiment. Because it was their very first time, Jesus gave them instructions in detail; what they needed to bring, and how to conduct themselves, while they were on the mission. Jesus told them to travel light, to bring nothing, except a staff and sandals for the journey. Work experience is a practical way to prepare people for a future mission. A staff would be the symbol of the apostles' future leadership. The sandals reminded them, they were on the journey; they were the pilgrims. Carrying no food nor money would mean Jesus, in His mysterious way, would provide for their essential needs. This would reveal their trust in Jesus. Trusting in God, the apostles believed, Jesus was with them. He was invisible amongst them.

True Jesus' disciples put their trust not on worldly materials but in Jesus. God, through others, provides for their essential needs. God was the centre of their lives and mission. They went in pairs to say having companions on the way was most important. It also indicated that Christ's disciples would not live in isolation, but live, and pray in the spirit of a community. The apostles carried with them not worldly materials, but the Good News, the message of eternal life.

Jesus gave further instruction, not to move from house to house. If any place does not welcome you, just simply walk away (v.10). The apostles carried neither food nor money, but relied on the generosity of people whom they served. This is a turning point for the apostles. Relying on others for food was a profound experience for them. Fishermen would prefer help from their peers rather than from non- fishermen, because they would have insufficient skills, and experience required to do the job. This time the help required not skills and experience, but hospitality.

In return for their hospitality, the apostles had the most beautiful gift to offer. They gave those who welcomed them the holy message of eternal life, and God's peace. The message of eternal life was so precious, that it required some form of preparation to receive it. The message they gave had the power to change the lives of those who genuinely received it with an open heart. Repentance manifested itself through the act of welcoming both the message and the apostles. Those who refused to welcome the apostles, didn't know, they refused not only the apostles, but also their message of eternal life, and peace. The apostles 'Shake off dust from their feet v.11': This meant disconnectedness. They took nothing from that place; not even tiny specks of dust from their feet.

Sending the apostles to do work experience, Jesus showed He trusted them. It also revealed how these 'fishers of men' were ready for their future mission. Jesus trusted the apostles. He allowed them to share the power to cast out devils and to cure sick people in Jesus' Name.

These apostles returned happy, full of joy.

Each of us is called to share the Good news in our own way. We share the Good News message according to our ability and capacity. When our daily living reflects the spirit of the Good News message, we are truly Jesus' disciples.