Read Ezra 9:5-9, Psalm (Tobit 13) and Luke 9:1-6

“Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics.” (Luke 9:3) 

While Ezra, the priest prayed for the people during the evening sacrifice with torn garments (symbolising contrition just like the people of Nineveh did), the twelve disciples are sent to various towns and villages to evangelise. This shows us that ministry involves an active prayer life on one hand and the daily interaction with the people. In sending out his disciples, Jesus presented different dimensions of ministry which include: 

1. A recognition of one’s power and authority over all demons. A minister who is afraid of demons has failed already.

2. The ability to cure diseases (the gift of healing). We must however recognize that healing is one of many gifts God generously bestows on His ministers. “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts.” (1 Corinthians 12:29-31)

3. Continuous preaching of the word of God. St. Paul says: “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16). Nevertheless, we must bear in mind that the best preaching is the good example of our very lives.

4. Living out the spirit of poverty (a sense of detachment, i.e. taking nothing for the journey, not even a spare tunic). St. Peter would further clarify saying: “Tend the flock of God that is in your charge … not under compulsion but willingly, as God would have you do it-- not for sordid gain but eagerly.” (1 Peter 5:2).

5. Staying with the people. “And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart.” (Luke 9:4) Pope Francis would say, pastors must have the smell of their sheep.Without these core values, the work of ministry fails to serve its true purpose.

Let us pray:  Lord Jesus, transform my prayer life for good. Amen

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Wednesday of week 25 in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Ezra 9:5-9, Psalm (Tobit 13) and Luke 9:1-6).