Thursday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
(1 Kings 2:1-4.10-12; Mark 6:7-13)
A zealous young Franciscan wanted to live radical poverty. He refused even to wear sandals. Then he stepped on a sharp object which pierced his foot severely. He was taken to an emergency room for treatment. His community had to a bill hundreds of times more than the price of sandals. Perhaps Jesus demands that his apostles wear sandals to avoid such incidents.
Jesus wants his apostles to rely on Divine Providence in a prudent way. He tells them to take no provisions that people can provide – food, money or extra clothes. But he does not want them to defy Providence by leaving behind a walking stick to forge rivers and, of course, sandals.
Should contemporary preachers possess much more than the limits Jesus sets here? They live much more complicated lives that entail the use of more things. They need medical care, for example, which is no longer available from the village wise man. They also use computers, not quills for writing. However, they must not ignore the thrust of Jesus’ instructions. They are to showcase trust in the divine by stripping down to the bare essentials for today.