Jesus sends the disciples out to heal and preach, telling them to take nothing with them but a “walking stick.” That detail of the “walking stick” jumped out at me for the first time ever. I truly never gave it much thought until now. When I walked the Camino across Spain, the memory of the walking poles, a modern version of walking sticks or staffs, surfaced. I would never have made it on the Camino without those modern “walking sticks.”
They were my anchor as I trudged up steep hills; they kept me from walking too quickly down those steep hills; they supported me as I carried a very heavy backpack; they were there just in case a vicious dog came in my path.
The people we encounter in our everyday lives are like those walking poles or sticks. When I engage in a conversation with one of our guests at Loaves and Fishes, when I speak with someone on the street needing some food... I am “anchored” in Christ. Sometimes, I’m doing so many things with little thought, much like running down a steep hill just to get to the bottom, I STOP to have a conversation over the phone or on the streets with a parishioner or friend, this encounter prevents me from “falling” heedlessly from activity to activity. In times of sadness or turmoil, it is the gentle comfort of another person, supporting us, holding us up in spirit.
We are being sent out into our own worlds of city or suburb, allowing human “walking sticks” to guide our journey. We need nothing more.