Staff or no staff?


Mark 6:8-9

He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.

Luke 9:3

And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics."


Mark says that they are allowed to take sandals.

In Luke’s account Jesus sends 70 men. Some translations say that it is 72 men. This may be a reference to Moses and the 70 elders in Exodus.

Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abi’hu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel; and there was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank. (Exodus 24:9-11)

The point is complete reliance on God for provision.


What would a staff have been used for?


A staff is a walking stick, also a symbol of authority for a leader.


Walking stick, support as they traveled dusty trails and crude roads across the countryside and into other lands.


St. Francis must have read his Bible! How often do we really trust God completely? I for one relied all my life on myself against the world. It is hard to abandon the distrust and alienation that comes with our daily struggles. We cuddle up to our own independence and revel in our freedom from the solace of community and wake up alone wondering at our loneliness.
It is hard to start a long journey without provisions, prepared shelter, relying on the Cause of your cause to provide for you. Too hard for me. The work of Saints.


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