15th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Ages 3-6): Sharing and Sending
(Adults, you could begin by reading the Gospel aloud to the child. Alternatively, you could read the first paragraph of the reflection to the child, then read the Gospel, and then continue with the reflection.)
Often, when we listen to the Gospel, we hear about Jesus doing marvellous things. When people are sick, Jesus makes them well. When people are pushed and pulled by unclean spirits, Jesus makes them clean and still again. When people need to hear more about the Kingdom of God, Jesus tells them. In the Gospel for this Sunday, though, Jesus does not do any of these things at all.
Jesus called the twelve
Jesus has twelve very close friends. We call these twelve friends his "apostles." Apostles are people who are sent out to do something.
and began to send them out two by two
Aha! Jesus is sending the apostles! We wonder what he is sending them to do. Jesus sends them "two by two" which means each apostle has a buddy. They will go out together. No one is alone.
Jesus gave them authority over the unclean spirits.
Jesus is the one who makes people calm and still again when they are pushed and pulled by unclean spirits. When things are wrong inside a person, it is Jesus who makes them right. But now, Jesus is sharing his strength. He is giving the apostles the strength to make people calm and still and right.
The apostles need to take two things. Listen for them:
He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics.
A staff and sandals. We know that sandals are for our feet. With sandals instead of bare feet, the apostles can walk for a long time. But what is a staff? A staff is like a walking stick. It is something that a shepherd carries to keep the sheep safe.
The Good Shepherd has a staff. There is a prayer in the Holy Bible that says,
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.
The sheep are not afraid when it is dark because the Good Shepherd is always near. The sheep feel safe because the Good Shepherd has his staff to keep away anything scary. Unclean spirits? No problem for the Good Shepherd. He has his staff.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd is sharing his staff with the apostles. Jesus is making them shepherds, too. Just like Jesus, they will make sure that sheep are safe. We wonder who these sheep might be.
What do the apostles do when they are sent out with a staff and sandals?
So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent.
When people need to hear more about the Kingdom of God, the apostles tell them.
They cast out many demons,
When people are pushed and pulled by unclean spirits, the apostles make them clean and still again.
and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
When Jesus shares his strength and his staff,
when he sends the apostles out,
the apostles do marvellous things, just like Jesus.
The Good Shepherd shares with the apostles so that all the sheep are cared for.
He must love those sheep so much. We wonder, who are these sheep, and will he send out more shepherds for them?