Scripture:Jesus said to the twelve, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. (Mark 6:10-12)
Reflection:In Mark’s gospel, the twelve are totally dependent on those who receive them. Jesus instructs them to stay with those who welcome them. They are told not to take anything on their journey except a walking stick; they are told to wear nothing but a tunic and sandals. They are to carry no bread, no bag, no money, no change of clothes. Furthermore, if they cannot find someone to welcome them, they merely shake off the dust from their feet, a sign of social protest against those who show no hospitality.
Thus, stripped of all but the basic essentials, the twelve have but one purpose, and that is to proclaim repentance. They are vulnerable in their mission to proclaim repentance to all. Most people think of repentance as feeling sorry for one’s sins. However, that is easy repentance, and it passes almost as quickly as it arrives. Heartfelt repentance begins with a person changing his or her mind about something; then, the person changes his or her behavior. For example, true repentance begins with the message that God shows no partiality. Those who hear the message become aware of their prejudices. They begin to change the way they think about people who have a different color of skin. The change is demonstrated in their behavior; no more racist remarks, jokes, or favoritism emerges from their mouths. That’s repentance.
In a politically correct culture, behavior often does not reflect a new way of thinking after hearing the word of God. A person can be prejudiced by race, creed, sexual orientation, or age in thinking, but never show it in behavior. Hearing the message of Jesus does not cause a change in thinking, even though a change in behavior may be seen due to political correctness. Followers of Jesus are dependent upon those who welcome them, but they are also responsible for proclaiming real repentance in the hope of changing the hearer’s thinking and, consequently, changing his or her behavior.
Journal/Meditation:As a follower of Jesus, how do you proclaim repentance? How do others receive you and your message?
Prayer: Lord God, your Son taught his disciples to depend upon those who welcomed them and their message of repentance. Make me a faithful disciple, and keep me faithful to the purpose entrusted to me by Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.