"He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick –no food, no sack, no money in their belts." Mk 6:8
The gospels often direct us to think and pray about how to make transitions. The call of the apostles and their commissioning are powerful examples of this. Expected to respond immediately to his call, Jesus' disciples are promised His strength when they remember to go in His name.
Traveling at any time without adequate provisions is risky and it was even more so in the ancient world. Thieves hid near roads, especially on mountain passes, where they could attack the unwary traveler. That Jesus told the disciples to take nothing for the journey made his followers even more vulnerable than we first imagine, and their willingness to trust Jesus in this regard becomes the measure of their faith.
The challenge of Jesus to respond without fear continues for today's disciples, and the rituals of the church emphasize this. Though teenagers in the United States, discerning the call to confirmation, might be too young to hear the call completely, the sacramental ritual makes it clear that the time of dependence on parents and adult family members must come to an end. Anointed, those invited to Confirmation are strengthened for the journey and reminded that their baptism called them to be "priest, prophet and king."
In Jesus day people were anointed for medical purposes, and as a reminder to new disciples that the Lord would accompany them with strength and power, making it possible for them to do all that Jesus did because their authority was Christ's not theirs. In this regard, nothing has changed. We can risk everything when we rely completely on the Lord.
Today, pray to remember that God lives in us and among us as our strength.
How has your faith helped you to make transitions and accept challenges?