In today's Gospel (Mark 6: 7-13) there is a small detail that is very important. On this first "missionary" project, Jesus sent out the Twelve in pairs. Now why would this detail be important? I think we can find the answer in Matthew 18:20 when Jesus says "...where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
By sending out His followers in pairs, Jesus was showing them how they would need to work in the future, once He was physically gone. On a human level, we all realize that joining with another helps accomplish many tasks (there is strength in numbers). But on a spiritual level, the support we receive from being around others who believe as we do is invaluable. Because of the Lord, His apostles and disciples were able to accomplish the miraculous. and this did not stop after the Ascension. Working together, those first followers were able to spread the Good News so well that believers are now found in every corner of the world, even in place they did not know existed (like our own land).But the work is not done. And the need to work together is still important to remember.
In our parish, for example, most of our religious education classes have two catechists, so that they can work together. If they work with Jesus in their midst, success is much more likely. Even in other areas of ministry, we see that when people interact with one another in a faith-filled environment, that presence of Jesus makes a huge difference. The idea of "two-by-two" is also what lies behind our requests for others to take our prayer intentions as their own. "Pray for me" is really a request to "pray with me", so that together we can make the Lord a part of our prayer.
This day we will all have opportunities to either go it alone or work together. I pray that we realize the importance of journeying with others. If, as He said, we can gather in His name, we are guaranteed the presence of Jesus in our midst. And with the Lord at our side, we have a much better shot at accomplishing God's will. So let's work on our math today. Two by two equals... the presence of Jesus!