I’ve been trying to discern my Christian identity and identify a role for myself within my community since my return to the faith. I look up to a number of Saints – whose lives I find an accord with – to guide my daily life and I ask for their help to pray for me. One of the saints I call upon is Saint Paul. His late conversion, his fervour in ministry and his missionary travels far and wide to share the Good News and redemption are what I found inspiring and that resonate deeply within.
Occasionally, I travel for work, well, not a lot and not faith-related at all (I didn’t think I could find any semblance that could be compared to my faith journey) but to my surprise, when I finally looked, I found travel advice from Jesus that any traveller for Christ could use for all future travels, faith-related or otherwise:
“Take nothing for the journey – no staff, no bag, no money, no extra tunic.” (Luke 9:3)
“But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” (Luke 22:36)
Personally, I love travelling light. There’s a sense of adventure to take only what I need and get out there to experience what will come my way. Do I have expectations? Of course, but they come with a positive attitude that my encounters will notch up to a great and exciting trip.
When I travel, I walk right up to the airport just an hour before boarding, armed with only my carry-on bag. A quick check-in, boarding and I’ll be settled in on the flight. Upon touchdown, I grab my carry-on, walk off the plane and head straight toward my adventures.
And yet when I travel for my triathlon races, I’m packed to the hilt.
I’ll have my bicycle, spare gear and equipment for contingencies. I’ll have a laptop to stay connected with work even while I’m “on holiday”. I’ll have pre- and post-race clothes and lists of things to do to successfully cram in every possible sort of experiences in the short amount of time I have. I’ll be checking repeatedly to ensure I haven’t missed out anything.
The truth is, regardless of how much I pack (or not), I haven’t really left anything up to chance. Because I would’ve done hours of research, plotted out places to go and things to do before even starting the journey.
I wonder: Is this the same as when Jesus asked that we take nothing on the journey and trusting that He has already armed us with Faith (like how He gave His disciples power and authority before sending them out)?
Recently, I was invited to join a Landings run at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour (OLPS) parish and with no further prompting, I had said “yes”. It shouldn’t be difficult, I thought. I had only to pack one thing – myself.
While I was feeling physical exhaustion from the demands of life, I was determined to fulfil my promise… and in a way that befits Jesus’ travel advice.
And indeed, there was nothing that I was in great need of during this run with OLPS. I received encounters with people I would not otherwise have, was always cared for with food, fellowship and transport rides home, more than enough and convenient travel time, solo time with Him in Eucharistic Adoration and affirmation from my community of the mission I had embarked on.
When the Landings run ended, I came to the realization that I had experienced what Jesus meant for his disciples: I packed nothing. No back-up plan, no expectations, no demands. I brought no “staff, bread, bag, money or tunic” but relied only on Faith that I was being sent on a mission for Christ, and all I needed, He already provided:
In the experiences and learnings from my previous runs at my home parish at Holy Spirit which I hoped I put to good use at OLPS; with all my Jesus encounters that I kept close in my heart that I shared with the people I met; with my presence and just by showing up.
With this new revelation, I am emboldened to go on an adventure for God, packing light. I stand ready to do God’s work. While I may not always feel adequate, I know it isn’t for me to decide if I’m qualified. Maybe all I need to do is to be ready to travel for my Lord.
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