Reflections

FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, JULY 15, 2018

1. Don’t Keep the Word to Yourself – You’re sent to others
2. Let Your Life Speak God’s Word
3. Speak in My Name: You Are a Prophet
4. Chosen in Christ 

Introduction
1. Don’t Keep the Word To Yourself
A good test of how strong our faith is would be how much we want to share it with the people around us. We cannot keep for ourselves what is good and rich and beautiful. If the Gospel has shaped our lives and made it deep and precious for us, why not let it become Good News also to others? Not everyone is called to go out and preach it but just to let it speak for itself by the way we live it. Ask the Lord here in this Eucharist to help us live and spread his Good News.

2. Let Your Life Speak God’s Word
Ordinary people like you and me went out into the world with the message of Jesus, with nothing else to offer than the Good News, and yet the Gospel spread far and wide. In the early centuries after Jesus’ coming most of the converts were won over by seeing how the Christians lived, how they worshipped God and loved and served one another. In that way they lived and preached the heart of the Gospel message. Is it perhaps this simplicity and directness which we need in our day? With the Lord Jesus among us, we ask him how best to make his Good News known.

3. Speak in My Name: You Are a Prophet
Who of us dares to stand up and speak out on seeing something in society or the local community that is against the Gospel and genuine human values? To speak and spread the Good News is not always welcome to people. Even some faithful protest. It demands courage on the part of the messengers. For it will upset some of the leaders, and they will say you are meddling in politics when you are merely asking for justice or defending the voiceless poor. But speak we must, for it is God’s word he has entrusted to us. A prophet is literally one who speaks for God. We ask Jesus for courage.

4. Chosen by God In Christ
It is not we who have chosen God, because we like him or because he conforms to our ideas about him or seems to answer our aspirations. It is he who has chosen us to become his sons and daughters. He has forgiven our sins and given us life through Jesus Christ. All is given us, all is grace. How rich we are! We are God’s people called to give him glory in the name of all the world and to bring the world to him. With Jesus we thank the Father for having chosen us in Christ.

First Reading: The Lord Took Me and Sent Me
Amos has to speak God’s uncomfortable message of conversion to a self-sufficient people which paid only lip-service to God and speak he does.

1 Reading Amos 7:12-15
Amaziah, priest of Bethel, said to Amos,
“Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah!
There earn your bread by prophesying,
but never again prophesy in Bethel;
for it is the king’s sanctuary and a royal temple.”
Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor have I belonged to a company of prophets;
I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.
The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me,
Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”

Responsorial Psalm 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
R. (8) Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD —for he proclaims peace.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and prepare the way of his steps.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

Second Reading: God Has Chosen Us in Christ
Paul thanks God for his plan of love. For God has chosen all people to be his children through the blood of Christ and has destined us to be his people and heirs of eternal happiness.

2 Reading Ephesians 1:3-14
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favour of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace
that he granted us in the beloved.
In him we have redemption by his blood,
the forgiveness of transgressions,
in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us.
In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us
the mystery of his will in accord with his favour
that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times,
to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.

In him we were also chosen,
destined in accord with the purpose of the One
who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,
so that we might exist for the praise of his glory,
we who first hoped in Christ.
In him you also, who have heard the word of truth,
the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him,
were sealed with the promised holy Spirit,
which is the first instalment of our inheritance
toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.

Alleluia. Ephesians 1:17-18
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope that
belongs to our call.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel: Sent to Heal and to Save
Jesus sends his apostles, and us, his disciples today, to liberate people from all powers of evil that make them less human and to heal them from all diseases, physical, spiritual and social.

Gospel Mark 6:7-13
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey
but a walking stick—
no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals
but not a second tunic.
He said to them,
“Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave.
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet
in testimony against them.”
So they went off and preached repentance.
The Twelve drove out many demons,
and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

Commentary:
It is at first a very painful realization: that we can possess nothing at all. This may take a lifetime to learn. Many learn it only in the final days of their life; and then it is a bitter truth. But many thoughtful people learn it while they are still in their full vigour. It is a truth that is simple to express in words, but difficult to realize in one’s life. It has been understood for thousands of years. A Chinese sage (who lived a couple of centuries before Christ) gave it famous expression in the following prose-poem.

For security against robbers who snatch purses, rifle luggage and crack safes,
One must fasten all property with ropes, lock it up with locks, bolt it with bolts.
This, for property owners, is elementary good sense,
But when a strong thief comes along he picks up the whole lot,
Puts it on his back, and goes on his way with only one fear:
That ropes, locks and bolts may give way.
Thus what the world calls good business is only a way
To gather up the loot, pack it, make it secure
In one convenient load for the more enterprising thieves.
Who is there, among those called smart,
Who does not spend his time amassing loot
For a bigger robber than himself?

Blessing
God has entrusted to us his mission
of bringing the Good News of his Son
to a self-sufficient world,
ill-disposed to receive him.
We ourselves are often poor witnesses,
yet speak we must
by our words and our style of life.
May God himself be our strength
and may he bless you for this task:
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen.

Let us go and proclaim God’s Good News
to all who are willing to listen.
R/ Thanks be to God.

 

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