He called the twelve, and began to send them out.
Besides teaching himself the Lord also sent out the Twelve in
pairs. The reason for sending them in pairs was so that they
would go more readily, for they might not have been so willing
to set out all alone, and, on the other hand, if he had sent
more than two together, there would not have been enough apostles
to cover all the villages. So he sent them two by two: "two
are better than one," as Ecclesiastes says.
He commanded them to take nothing with them, neither bag, nor money, not bread,
so as to teach them to despise riches, and to make people ashamed when they saw
them preaching poverty by their own lack of possessions.
For who would not blush
for shame, strip himself of his possessions, and embrace a life of poverty when
he saw an apostle carrying neither bag, nor even bread which is so very essential?
The 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.
On the other hand, he told them to shake the dust off
their feet when people refused to receive them, to show that they had made a
long journey for their sakes and they owed them nothing; they had received nothing
from them, not even their dust, which they shook off as a testimony against thema
testimony of reproach.
"Be sure of this, I tell you: Sodom and Gomorrah will
fare better on the Day of Judgment" than those who will not receive you. The
Sodomites were punished in this world, so they will be punished less severely
in the next. What is more, no apostles were sent to them. For those who refused
to receive the apostles greater sufferings are in store.
"So they set out to preach repentance. They cast out many
demons, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them."
fact that the apostles anointed the sick with oil is mentioned
only by Mark, but the practice is also referred to in his general
letter by James, the brother of the Lord, who says: "Are
there any sick people among you? Let them send for the elders
of the Church and let these pray over them, anointing them
Oil is beneficial for the relief of suffering,
and it also produces light and makes for cheerfulness. It symbolizes
the mercy of God and the grace of the Spirit, through which
we are freed from suffering and receive light, gladness, and
on Mark’s Gospel: PG 123, 548-49)
1050-1109), theologian and language scholar, studied at Constantinople.
He taught rhetoric and was tutor to the imperial heir presumptive:
hence his treatise on the Education of Monarchs. In 1078
he became archbishop of Ochrida in Bulgarian territory. While
diffusing Byzantine culture among the Slays, he allowed the
use of Slavonic texts. He wrote commentaries on several books
of the Old Testament and all of the New except Revelation.
He especially stressed practical morality, as did Chrysostom,