After Jesus was rejected in His home town as we heard from last week’s gospel reading from the gospel of Saint Mark 6:1-6, He never stopped proclaiming the kingdom of His Father. In today’s gospel reading from the gospel of Saint Mark 6:7-13, He sends out the twelve apostles to proclaim His gospel and the kingdom of His Father in word and deed. He gives them very specific instructions among which include what to take with them, what not to take with them and what to do when performing their duties. With these instructions, Jesus clearly points out to His disciples some challenges they would face in their lives as Christians when proclaiming His gospel. He cautions them about the distractions of life that will make it difficult for them to stay focused on God as they live out and proclaim the gospel. He pointed out things to take on their mission - a walking stick and to wear sandals and things not to take - no food, no sack, no money in their belts on this journey so as to stay focused. These instructions were reminders to help them to focus more on the task ahead and avoid every distractions that will come their way. These items food, sack and money are mostly the things that make it impossible for us to remain focused on God and our mission to proclaim and live out His gospel in the world. They also emphasize the ills of materialism in our world today that distracts us from focusing on our mission to proclaim the gospel of Christ in the world today.

Hence, when Jesus states to His disciples or apostles not to take any food, He wants them to understand that we as human beings eat to live and not live to eat. Yes, food is important to nourish, strengthen and sustain us but Jesus wants us to pay attention to the ills of gluttony. Gluttony, "gula" in Latin is derived from the Latin "gluttire" meaning "to gulp down or swallow" which means over-indulgence and over-consumption of food and drink. This is why in Christianity, gluttony is considered a sin because it leads to an excessive desire for food that causes one to over indulge and even withhold food from the needy and the poor.

When Jesus tells to His disciples or apostles not to take any sack and money, He wants them to learn how to relate to earthly possessions, by condemning greed - an intense and selfish desire for something, and avarice - an extreme greed for wealth or material gain so to pay better attention only to their needs and not their wants. Jesus clearly wants us to understand that what we have or what we are, does not guarantee us heaven, rather that we should remain focused in answering our call to discipleship so as to recognize the importance of God in our lives and live out His mission in the world.

My brothers and sisters, let us pray in today’s Eucharistic celebration for the grace to fulfill our mission as disciples of Christ by avoiding all the distractions of the world as Jesus tells us to and by remaining focused on God as we answer our call to discipleship. Amen.