The Powerful Testimony of Detachment
(see Mk 6:7-13)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
This Sunday’s Gospel story tells us how Christ sent His disciples to mission with complete detachment from earthly ambitions.
We would see what detachment Christ wants to teach His missionaries.
First, this is a detachment from material comforts. He tells them to take no food, no sack and no money. We do need basic comforts to sustain our lives. Too much worry about everyday needs, however, may cause us an obstacle big enough to prevent us from completely dedicating ourselves to serve the Lord. Besides, missionaries are thought to be givers, not recipients, distributors, not collectors, of both material and spiritual benefits. Accumulating possessions and riches not only betrays a missionary’s commitment, but puts him or her into temptation of greed as well.
Second, this is a detachment from earthly powers. He tells them not to look for people’s backing, nor be dependent on anyone’s authority. In fact, we do need cooperation when working as a team. Too much dependence on people’s support—either financial or political—however, may cause us bias in judging and acting fairly.
Saint Paul teaches in 2 Tim 2:9 that “the Word of God is not chained.” Missionaries should be free, too, from any form of prejudice, fear and shame, to loudly speak out the truth of Christ’s salving power. This is the reason why Christ tells His disciples, when not welcomed or listened to, to leave and shake dust off their feet in testimony against those evildoers.
Only with such a detachment, could missionaries become, not preachers who talk too much but do too little, but true witnesses of what they have seen, heard, and experienced regarding God’s merciful love convincingly shown in the life, suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ, our Lord and Savior.
By Fr. Francis Nguyen, O.P.