Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Walking Sticks to One Another

Gospel Sharing (Mk 6, 7-13)
1 February 2007

Walking Sticks to One Another

At first hearing, Jesus can appear to be somewhat a very hard boss in this Gospel pericope: napaka-inconsiderate naman ni Hesus. Imagine, he was sending out his disciples on the mission with the clear and explicit instruction: “take nothing on the journey…” As in! No food, no traveling bag, not a coin.” Todo na ‘to! Walang baon, walang baunan, ni walang pocket money!

But just when we think he let them out into the wilderness with absolutely nothing, we see that he did allow one very strange exception: “a walking stick.” (Of course he had to allow them to wear sandals besides, which was no more than absolutely necessary in that desert terrain and climate!) But really, what can one do with a walking stick? Let us count the ways. A wooden stick is difficult to chew when one is hungry, much less digest. A wooden stick cannot be used to pay for a room when one has no place to spend the night in. In fact, a wooden stick can even be considered an added burden—perhaps something like a little cross to drag along?

Yet perhaps, the walking stick that Jesus was referring to here is not just the wooden walking stick that we usually see but more so, a human one. The Gospel tells us: And He summoned the Twelve and sent them out in pairs. The Latin Vulgate translation I guess speaks a little more emphatically: “Et convocavit duodecim et coepit eos mittere binos.” And he called the Twelve together and afterwards, he sent them out in pairs. May huddle na! May buddy system pa!

Jesus does not send us into the mission with nothing. He gave us each other so that we can sustain one another with each other’s presence. Kung meron nga namang isang Xerox, hindi mo na kailangan ng TV o radyo. Kung merong isang Magic na bukas-palad utangan hindi mo na kailangan ng mga “Bumbay”. Kung wala kang sarili mong alarm clock, nandyan naman ang alarm clock ni Ken. Kung kailangan mo ng Swiss knife, nandyan rin si Earl V. Dagdagan mo pa ng isang Jim na multi-talented performer at all-around (hmmm...), all around.

Ganito yata ang mga walking sticks: versatile and dependable. Pwede mong maging “arnis stick” ‘pag may mababangis na hayop o masasamang-loob kang makakasalubong. Pwede mo ring maging laruan kapag nalulungkot o nababagot ka na. Pwede mo ring sandalan, yakapin at kapitan kapag hirap na hirap at pagod na pagod ka na sa iyong paglalakad.

Ngunit meron pa yatang isa pang bigay si Hesus na makikita natin sa unang pagbasa. “You have not drawn near to an untouchable mountain and a blazing fire, and gloomy darkness and storm and trumpet blast, and a voice speaking words such that those who heard begged that they be not addressed to them.” Bagkus, lumalapit tayo sa Diyos sa kanyang banal na tahanan, may background music pa ng mga anghel na umaawit, at may mga backup dancers na mga santo, kung saan naroon si Hesus upang ipaki-usap tayong palagi sa kanyang Ama. “O Lord, in your temple, we ponder your love.” Panginoon, sa inyong tahanan, napagtatanto po namin ang inyong pag-ibig!

Sapagkat hindi na nakakatakot lapitan ang Diyos, maari tayong dumulog sa kanya ng may pananampalayang ipagkakaloob niya ang lahat ng ating kailangan. O, ‘di ba? Kahit wala kang allowance, bottomless naman ang funds. Kailangan mo nga lang mag-request.

Inaanyayahan tayo ni Hesus na dumanas ng karukhaan sapagkat sa karukhaan natin masusumpungan ang ating tunay na kayamanan na matagal na pala niyang naipagkaloob sa atin: ang handog ng bawat isa, at ang kanyang sarili.

Sapat na po, Panginoon. Sapat na sapat na!


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