As a follow-up to yesterday’s Gospel, where Jesus tells of the approach the apostles are to take in evangelizing, today He actually sends them off (Mk 6:7-13). We hear of the appropriate manner of dress (simple) and the provisions to be taken (meager). More importantly, the opening message is conveyed to us, which we see above.
Important? Yes! This is exactly the way John the Baptist (Mt 3:2; Mk 1:15; Lk 3:3) and Jesus (Mt 4:17) began their public ministries. To get a sense of the value placed on repentance in Scripture, it can be found in some form of the word 117 times (RSV).
But is it important to us? In a world where “nobody calls it sin anymore” or even worse, evil is called good and good is called evil, repentance is either passé or deemed unnecessary. How fearfully wrong this is. Looking at Mark 1:15 (cited above) we learn of two basic requirements of the Christian: “Repent and believe.”
Maybe you, like me, have looked askance at the shabbily (or sometimes well) dressed man at the busy intersection with the sign declaring the imminent end of the world. Well, you know, I’ve given that a second thought. While we cannot know when Jesus will return (He even tells us that in the Gospels — Mt 24:36), we do know that our end is near (in relation to eternity) whether it is tomorrow or eighty years from now. Maybe, just maybe, God has sent that odd man out to remind us of just that. Have we repented completely and believed sincerely? It is worth taking to prayer (and Confession).