I was asked to give the daily homily this morning at Mass. The Gospel passage was from Mark in which Jesus sent out the apostles “two by two” to preach repentance, cure the sick and expel demons. Here is a summary of what I said:
There are pivotal moments in our lives, moments in which our lives are altered forever. A man recites his vows to his wife, and life is changed; you promise to love and protect and honor your wife. You witness the birth of your first child and you realize that from now on you must feed and clothe, shelter and protect, instruct and bring this child up in the faith and in needed life skills. A man kneels before his bishop and in complete silence hands are laid on his head, and the man stands changed eternally and sent out into the world.
We hear of another pivotal moment in the Gospel today, when Jesus selects the Twelve and sends them out “two by two”, and what does he tell them? Take nothing with you (except what prudence would dictate, i.e., a walking stick to fend off predators; a pair of sandals to protect your feet on what will be a very long journey; a single tunic to sleep in). Take nothing but faith in the Lord Jesus. It will be your faith that sustains you.
Yes, we too are sent forth. We too are to take the risk. We are to take nothing but our faith as we go forth. In the end that is what we will have at that last pivotal moment in our lives, when we pass from this life to the next. Faith will sustain us.
Today, we celebrate the memorial of St. Paul Miki and his companions, martyred in Japan in the 1590s. If you have a chance, read the account of their martyrdom written by an eye-witness. Here you will hear a beautiful account of the profession of the Christian faith at the moment of death. St. Paul Miki and his companions faced their pivotal moment having only their faith to sustain them.
Let us nurture our faith now, so we will draw from it later, when we face our deaths. With it, we will in all hope, see the face of the Lord Jesus!