Of all the remarkable things that take place in this gospel passage, the most significant may be that none of the apostles do it on their own.
“Jesus summoned the Twelve,” Mark wrote, “and began to send them out two by two.” After that, all bets are off. The apostles expel demons and cure the sick. The world awakens to something new.
The authority to do this, we’re reminded, comes from Christ. But I wonder if there is another power quietly at work, as well: the solidarity of a communal bond. There is strength in numbers.
The Gospels remind us of that again and again. Scripture tells us Jesus began calling his apostles in pairs, brother by brother—first Andrew and Peter, then James and John. After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to people in groups—the women at the tomb, the apostles in the Upper Room. On the road to Emmaus, it was two disciples who encountered the risen Christ. And here in this passage, once again, something wondrous happened with more than just one person.
The message is clear: Christianity is not a solitary endeavor. It is a collective life—lived among others, for others, with others. It is collaborative and communal. And it brings us, in every sense, communion.
From the beginning, it seems, the great work of the Gospel was carried out with many hands working together, many feet walking together, many voices speaking together.
Nowadays, when the church can sometimes seem fractured and splintered, it’s good to remember that Christ intended his followers to be a community.
Twenty centuries ago, working together worked wonders.
It still does.
— My reflection for today, “Working Wonders Together” from the February 2015 issue of Give Us This Day
Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2015.
Used with permission.