The “twelve” have heard and seen enough of the person and gestures of Jesus to be ready to extend Him. Jesus conducts kind of an airport security check, or better, insecurity check.
At airports travelers are examined as to their carrying anything of a dangerous nature to the plane or fellow passengers. Jesus is examining His followers for anything that would be harmful to their freely assisting Jesus in His healing those who have been injured or sick. Jesus strip-searches them for anything they would be relying on for their supporting personal frailty or fears. No “back-up” tunics or “sacks” of money to be trusted for their gaining positions of power. They are given authority, which is an interior sense rather than an outward credential. They seem to want to go and we hear that they were quite successful.
The heaviest burden we tend to carry in any relationship, and so too with Jesus and His invitations, is our desperate need to be effective, look good, and be successful. Going on a trip or vacation we take all kinds of things, “Just in case”, “Ya never know.” I travel quite a bit and have a conveniently commodious carry-on. As long as there is room in various pockets and corners, why not take an extra this and a few more these. We fear getting caught short, are fearful of not being adequate to the task. So, because I do it, it must be natural, healthy and provident.
Jesus and His apostles seemed to have a freedom from externals, because of what they had inside them to share. Their authority was what they had received rather than what was going to assist their need to be productive. They had to say and do what was in them and the more direct and difficult the message, it seems the more they had to say it - unassisted by Power-Point and hand-outs. They had and they were the message.
Intervention, confrontation, direct honesty are all difficult human interruptions and most often experiences of casting out demons and bad spirits. When we are freed from our being overly concerned with what this means to us, and freed to be concerned about how this confrontation will bring life to the other, then we are in and on the mission of the “Twelve”. We are asked to wear the sandals of the pilgrim, freed from pretence and anything which would cover over our own human poverty, and hold the walking stick guiding our unclear paths. This stick is not for pointing out, or for instructing others, but is meant to be a sign of our own reliance on the Sending God.
“Did somebody say that following Jesus was easy?!!!"
“The sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest for her young by your altars, o Lord of host, my king and my god. Blessed are they who dwell in your house, for ever singing your praise." - Ps. 84, 4-5
Larry Gillick, SJ