“Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two.” (Mk 6:7)
When my kids were little, one sentence that could guarantee a wrinkle in my patience was, “I do it myself!” I appreciated their independence, but sometimes they chose the most impossible tasks for a toddler to try solo, and they always seemed to do it when we were in a hurry. They just didn’t understand the importance of asking for help.
This passage from Mark’s Gospel reminds me of that very same lesson I tried to teach my kids so many years ago – we don’t have to do it ourselves. God sent the apostles two by two. The “original evangelization” was so important it took a pair or a team. The “New Evangelization” is just the same. We are all called to live the Gospel and to share the Gospel by combining our gifts with those of others to do the work he has planned for us. Lucky for us, the instructions Mark wrote about are as relevant today as they were when he wrote them.
We need to work together, sharing our talents, knowledge and skill to build his kingdom here on earth. We need to trust in God’s provisions and his plan. He loves us too much to leave us stranded or ask us to do an impossible task. We are called to meet people right where they are and share the way Jesus has worked in our life. Our faith doesn’t begin with facts and doctrine. It starts with the story of how he has loved us.
Finally, we need to let the Holy Spirit guide us. If we work together, steeping our efforts in prayer, we can be assured that we can do what he’s asking. Sometimes, our work is simply planting the seeds of his love and then stepping aside so he can finish the work. We have been called; now it’s time to respond – together!
Pray every day: Spend some time in prayer asking the Father what his mission is for you. How is he asking you to use the gifts and talents he’s blessed you with and who can you team up with to use them?
Study the faith: For some practical tips on how to spread the Gospel message, spend eight important minutes watching the Father Mike Schmitz video called, “Is shyness your excuse?” You can find this at ascensionpresents.com.
Engage in parish life: Begin by sharing the love of Christ with the person in the pew next to you. Pope Francis reminds us that the most powerful tool in evangelization is a smile.
Serve others’ needs: The heart of the Gospel message calls us to love and serve our neighbor, so find a partner and set off two by two to feed the hungry, comfort the lonely and offer comfort to the afflicted. Your service can be as simple as a casserole and a game of cards with a lonely parishioner, or as involved as becoming a regular volunteer at a soup kitchen or crisis pregnancy center.