He said to them, “When I sent you forth without a money bag or a sack or sandals, were you in need of anything?” “No, nothing,” they replied. He said to them, “But now one who has a money bag should take it, and likewise a sack, and one who does not have a sword should sell his cloak and buy one.” – Luke 22:35-36
Jesus seems to be contradicting himself in this passage as he speaks to his inner circle of disciples. The were to go forth and preach, and depend solely on God’s providence for their daily bread. Now he seems to have done a 180 degree turn in reverse, advising the disciples to to take a purse, a sack to carry belongs and even a sword!
What does this mean? This is a passage where we can see literal interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures can lead one into trouble. Not everything Jesus said was in a literal context, so we need to have a deeper look into the passage.
Jesus and his disciples are entering into a time of extreme crisis, and the passage is a call for readiness. It is no longer the time to calmly go forth and preach and teach, depending on the goodwill of others. In their future they will find hostility; they will be like sheep among wolves. The warning is now a call to resourcefulness; it is a time to take stock of one’s interior life, stocking up on the fruits of prayer and divine assistance of the Holy Spirit (the sword of the Spirit, perhaps?).
How do we approach our day? Do we find ourselves picking up our spiritual weapons of prayer, sacramentals and Sacraments more consistently? Are we readying our souls for the day when Jesus comes again? We may seem we are not in a time of urgency like the first disciples of Christ. Yet, we are called to be ready always.
May God bless you.