4th Week, Thursday, Feb 4

 4th Week, Thursday, Feb 4

Hebrews 12:18-19, 21-24 / Mark 6:7-13

The new covenant;  the blood of Jesus changed our lives.


Bishop Sheen used to compare the Old Testament to radio and the New Testament to television. The Old Testament lets you hear God’s word. But the New Testament not only lets you hear God’s word but also lets you see the God who utters it.

Commenting on this point, Jesus himself said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” John 14:9. The Letter to the Hebrews lists other important comparisons between the Old Testament and the New Testament. For example, today’s reading compares Abel’s blood, which cried out for God’s vengeance, to Christ’s blood, which cries out for mercy. Thanks to the blood of Jesus, which sealed the new covenant, justice and vengeance have given way to mercy.


When was the last time we meditated on the suffering Jesus underwent for us? “He endured the suffering that should have been ours.” Is 53:4


Our religion today is not inspired or instilled by the fear of the terrifying signs of Mount Sinai but rests on Christ our mediator of the new covenant who sacrificed himself for us. Jesus wants his disciples to be without security and power, so as to be free to go to people in their own life situation and to be free to preach and witness to the gospel without ambiguity. Would that the Church today could give such an unambiguous witness.

"To be sent" would imply that the one who is sent has a mission or a task at hand. At the same time, that would also mean that there would be some anxiety and uncertainty and there may also be some difficulties. Especially when one is sent to negotiate for peace or to do trouble-shooting and to clear up some mess.

In the gospel, we heard that after Jesus had been teaching around the villages, He began to send out His apostles in pairs and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. By the very fact that Jesus had to give authority to those He was sending out, means that He was sending them to "troubled spots" and that they would face challenges and difficulties as well as opposition from evil.

So as we heard from the gospel, they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them. It was quite obvious that the apostles were sent to places where there was a need and where it needs to be liberated and free from the clutches of evil.

Yet, where there is a need and where people are living in darkness and in shadow of fear and oppression, God will be there, and in fact He is already there. But He needs people who are willing to be sent to these troubled spots so that they can be His channels and instruments of grace and healing. God wants to empower us to carry out His mission. May we be willing to heed His call and be sent.


    Encountering Christ:

    1. He Gave Them Authority: Each of the Apostles was personally called and chosen by Christ after much prayer and discernment. He knew their strengths, talents, qualities, and gifts, and he also knew their weaknesses, failings, and struggles. And he still called them. He formed them through his own witness of life—how he lived and prayed. He also taught and instructed them, assuring them that he would accompany them in spirit by sending them forth in his name. Jesus entrusted them with this mission of making present his kingdom through their witness, prayer, and sacrifice, and with his authority.

    2. Two by Two: Christ sent them out together. He knew that they would lean on each other, and find support and encouragement as they worked together and modeled charity in the way that they related to each other in love. How much we need community in our own lives! We are not lone rangers as we seek to make Christ’s kingdom present in the world. That was not his design. Even Jesus communed with the Holy Spirit as he revealed to people the heart of his Father. Let’s thank God for the people he has placed alongside us to accompany us on the journey through this life to heaven.

    3. They Bore Fruit: Jesus was very clear about what he was calling the Apostles to do, and they set off to fulfill his instructions. The Scripture tells us that they did in fact fulfill that mission. They drove out demons and miraculously healed many who were sick. The mission unfolded as Christ had predicted, and their obedience, trust, and surrender bore fruit. They were able to touch many people on their journey in Christ’s name. If we discern the path that Christ wants us to follow and we take action, he will bless it. But it takes time to create space for him to reveal that plan, and discernment to intuit the quiet voice of Christ making known how and where he longs to mission alongside us. Let’s ask the Lord, “What can I do for you today?” and listen in the stillness for his answer.

    Conversing with Christ: Lord, you have drawn me close to yourself. Confirm me in the mission you entrust to me, that I may be a true friend and witness to others. Please allow my small efforts to bear great fruit. Continue to bless those with whom you send me, that we may be a sign of charity and love rooted in friendship with you.

    Resolution: Lord, today by your grace show me if there is someone with whom you want me to mission more often or with a deeper sense of communion.

 Opening Prayer

Lord our God, to go to the poor and to set them free, your disciples must be credible as people who are free themselves. We pray you today for a spirit of poverty that makes us free and available to all those imprisoned by the forces of evil. May we thus, become authentic witnesses of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord for ever. Amen