St John Ogilvie's
a Roman Catholic parish of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh

Reflections on the Gospel According to Mark
An On-line Project lead by Father Tony

Last week in our Project, we looked at the family of Jesus of Jesus. This week we focus on Jesus and his diciples.

But first we have another video for you - David Suchet reading Mark's Gospel as a story

The Mission of the Twelve
Mark 6:6b-8:30

6:6bThen he went about among the villages teaching.

  • Jesus had already chosen twelve to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message and to have authority to cast out demons (3:14-15). He now activates that appointment sending them out two by two.

7He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

  • Jesus adds instruction on how they are to travel. They are to travel ‘very light’ submitting themselves to the risk of hospitality. The lightness in which they travel will show trust in divine authority given them and also ward off any suspicion of self-seeking. The mission of the 12 foreshadows the Church: 1] – always a community on mission 2] entrusted with the treasure of the gospel to share and 3] healing ministry carried out in the sacraments. How the Church is to imitate these first missionaries in the ‘lightness’ of their travel is far more of a problem – but our prophetic role is linked to the lightness of our travel and Pope Francis a great witness to that - trusting in hospitality, and lack of self-seeking.

  • Mark 6:10-11 The instructions on the behaviour of the missionaries reflects the experience of the earliest missionary activity of the Christian communities. The shaking off the dust from the feet comes from the belief that Israel was God’s “holy land.” Returning from the impure lands which surrounded Israel, travellers would shake the dust from their feet. This gesture indicated the impurity and godlessness of the land they had just left, and the holiness of the land they were entering. The place that did not receive the missioner, or would not hear the proclamation of the gospel, was to be judged as “godless” by means of a symbolic shaking of the dust from the feet of the missionary.

The Death of John the Baptist ...... Click button to read more (on PDF).

If you would like to have a more in-depth look at this section of Mark, read the attached piece taken from an article by Francis J Moloney. There are quite a few words in Greek but even if you don't speak Greek the text is understandable.

As before, if you have questions or observations, you are welcome to contact me by email:

And if you want to continue reading Mark's Gospel just click the button.

Or, if you want a quick overview of the 16 Chapters of the Gospel you can view the video below. It runs for about 10 minutes. Then below that we will look at the first 13 verses of Chapter 1 in a bit more detail.

That's all for this week. We will move further into Mark's Gospel next week.

Please remember, if you have questions or observations you are welcome to contact me by email:

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