“He [Jesus] summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two…” (Mark 6:7).
Jesus’ sending them as pairs helps their readiness and willingness to go. How much easier is it to set out together with a trusted friend than to go it alone.
“He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick—no food, no sack, no money in their belts.” (v. 8)
What is more compelling than those radiating the love of God they proclaim? It is not found in earthly possessions and Jesus does not want these to get in the way of genuineness and authenticity.
“He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there” (v. 10).
Our blessed Lord instructed them to stay in the same house so as not to give the appearance of restlessness, as though they moved from one family to another in order to satisfy their stomachs and other worldly aches.
“Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them” (v. 11).
When we receive nothing from others whom we sincerely seek to serve, Jesus tells us to be resolute in moving on from them to others. That is, move on and don’t look back.
“…They anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them” (v. 13)
Only Mark mentions the apostles anointing the sick with oil, although James also cites it: “Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint [him] with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven” (James 5:14-15).
In Scripture, oil symbolizes the extravagance of God’s mercy and the grace of the Spirit, by means of which we are freed from suffering and enter into joy.