Wednesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
(Ezra 9:5-9; Luke 9:1-6)
Fr. Meinrad served in Fort Worth for many years as an assistant pastor. A Benedictine monk, he wore his black habit on the street. In fact, because of the habit many people noticed him walking from one hospital to another to visit the sick. Fr. Meinrad was not noted for his preaching skills. Yet his simplicity, devotedness to service and gentle demeanor spoke more eloquently than model homilies. Jesus is calling forth such virtues as he sends his apostles out to preach in today’s gospel.
In his instructions Jesus emphasizes the importance of poverty or, what might better be called today, simplicity. His preachers are not to take anything with them on the journey. Money, food, even a change of clothes become excessive burdens. His reason for streamlining is to impress upon the people the message of the kingdom. God provides for those who trust in him. The people will supply preachers’ needs. In this way they will not only receive the good news but will also have an opportunity to share it.
Although bishops are the successors of the apostles, priests do their work. They will more authentically and effectively fulfill the mission of preaching when they embrace evangelical poverty. At this time of concern for the environment priests could help transform the world by becoming models of simplicity.