My Dear People,
When Jesus sent the apostles two by two, he told them to bring no provision. That is, they were not to bring a thing that they needed. Why would Jesus send the apostles this way? Jesus requires them to be free of any form of attachment if they are to preach the Gospel. A disciple, who has the mission of bringing the kingdom of God to souls through preaching should not rely on human resources but on God’s providence. Whatever he does need to live with dignity as herald of the Gospel, he must obtain from those who benefit from his preaching, for the laborer deserves his maintenance. The preacher should so trust in God that he is convinced that he will have everything he needs to support life, even if he cannot himself obtain it; for he should not neglect eternal things through worrying about temporal things. This is what St. Bede said. By these instructions the Lord did not mean that the evangelists should not seek to live in any other way than by depending on what was offered them by those to whom they preached the Gospel; otherwise this very apostle [St. Paul] would have acted contrary to this precept when he earned his living by the labors of his own hands, said St. Augustine.
The apostles were on a mission to search for the lost people of the house of Israel. They were to go with urgency, trusting in the Holy Spirit that they would be guided. They were not to bring even a second tunic. They were to be able to find a place to stay and someone to take care of all their needs. Jesus preached the gospel the same way. When someone wanted to follow Him, Jesus told him the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. In addition, he did not have any material possessions except the clothes that he had with him. The apostles relying on the Holy Spirit for everything was practice for what was to come, when they eventually would be preaching the good news without relying on Jesus, instead concentrating on the message of salvation. Francis of Assisi, when he read this passage, adopted this style for his Order. He was so inspired by this passage and by the sense of poverty and detachment that he came to be known as “il poverello” the poor one. Like the apostles, he did not want any material possession to be a hindrance in preaching the gospel. In that sense he and his followers were so effective in preaching the gospel and gave such a great example with their life that many came and followed him. He renewed the church. Today we need inspirational people, such as Francis and his followers, who are willing to give up everything to renew the church. Even if we do not give up everything, at least we can give an example with our daily lives.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Vincent Clemente