Thursday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
(I Kings 2:1-4.10-12; Mark 6:7-13)
St. Dominic founded the Order of Preachers as a response to a missionary necessity. Many people, especially in southern France, were attracted to Catharism, a religion that taught the dualism of matter and spirit. What is spiritual, the Catharists believed, is good and what is material is evil. Food, drink, even sex between married partners were to be avoided. Truth and goodness were to be embraced. For idealistic people this kind of reform will have some appeal.
Monks galloping on horses from well-endowed estates had little success in checking the Catharist distortion. Their near betrayal of poverty seemed only to confirm what the dualists were teaching. Dominic dreamed of a different tact. He would form a group of men who would beg for the food they ate and go on foot – two by two -- to preach the truth to the people. Actually much of Dominic’s program is based on today’s gospel. Jesus sends his disciples out with the same scarcity of physical resources – “no food, no sack, no money in their belts.” However, they go forth with spiritual power to cast out demons and to cure the sick. They return, as shall be read in Saturday’s mass, with astounding success.
These stories should challenge us to re-examine our lives. We should ask if our possessions might not give a counter-message concerning what we treasure most. More than that, the stories should move us to seek spiritual values. Truth, beauty, and goodness should take precedence over material goods and to in our lives. Finally, we should especially prize telling others about God’s love.