July (14) 15, 2018
Sat 4:30 pm, Sun 8 am
15th Sun Ord Time
Amos 7:12-15; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13
In our readings this Sunday we hear about the “call” to be prophets to preach the Gospel and the response to the invitation to be sent out on mission. In the first reading Amos had heard the call of the Lord. He was only a shepherd of animals and he took care of sycamore trees. In other words he was just an ordinary guy with an ordinary occupation. Yet God called him to preach His message. The same is true for each one of us. I think it’s safe to say most of us are pretty ordinary people with ordinary lives: a job or school, family responsibilities, cars, homes, etc. Yet through our baptism, as St. Paul tells us in the 2nd reading, we are “chosen”, as he says, “In Him we are also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of His will.” Meaning, no matter who we are or how ordinary we are, no matter our occupation or our vocation in life (married, single, clergy or Religious, young or older) we are all chosen (called) to live according to the will of God. And what is that? To be holy and to preach the Gospel…The Vatican II document on the Church called Lumen Gentium (Light of the Nations) tells us how in paragraph 31: “The Laity, by their very vocation (call in life) seek the Kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God. They live in the world, that is, in all of the secular professions and occupations. They live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life. They are called there by God that by exercising their proper function and led by the spirit of the Gospel, they may work for the sanctification of the world from within as leaven.” Just like the prophet Amos, we are all called (chosen) to preach the Gospel every single day: at home, at work or school, and out in the world (streets & freeways, in the market place, at the ball game, at the movies, at the mall, etc.) and here within our Resurrection community or if you are a visitor in within your parish community. Even though we are just ordinary people living ordinary lives we have been called to announce the Kingdom of God in every circumstance of our lives. You see, you go to places where others don’t go and they go to places where you don’t go: your job or your school, your home, your circle of friends or wherever. Wherever life takes you is your mission field. And it is there that God calls you to be His prophet.
But you might say, “I’m don’t know what to say. I’m not a preacher.” It’s great to be able to quote scripture and Church doctrine but everyone does not have that gift. How we can preach very effectively is just how we live our lives, how treat people and we conduct ourselves. These words are attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, “Go out and preach the word of God to all people, and if necessary use words.” You can preach the Gospel by your positive attitude, by your joy that exudes from within you, by your generosity, and most of all by your smile. Preaching is not always with words but is with actions. But when opportunities do arise to use words…share your personal testimony. Share with all that you can what God has done in your life, how He has blessed you, how He has brought you through difficult times. Your testimony is very, very powerful and will touch peoples’ hearts.
But to take something out to someone you have to have it first. In the Gospel today the 12 heard the call, responded and went out. But they had something to take out. They had spent time with Jesus, getting close to Him, learning from Him, trusting in Him. The same is true for us. We must do the same. We must get close to Jesus, learn from Him and trust in Him. Then we will have something to take to our families and to the world. When we know the joy of the Lord in our hearts the Gospel message can’t help but come out.
In the Gospel Jesus summons (calls) the 12 then sends them out 2 by 2. Why 2 by 2? Because He knows the mission He calls us on is not easy and we can’t accomplish it alone. With each other and with the Church we are strengthened and encouraged when we get weak or when we stray or get lax or get lazy. With each other it is much easier than by ourselves. That is why Jesus established His Church, to be missionary in nature and to help each other in spreading the Gospel message.
Jesus gives the 12 strict instructions as He sends them out. These instructions are for us also as He sends us out. The scripture said, “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.” Jesus is saying as you go out to travel light. Meaning, focus on the journey and the mission which has been entrusted to you. Don’t be so concerned with worldly things: wealth or status or material things, or looks or power. *Clear the “clutter” from your lives: things or even persons that would prevent you from being effective in your mission. Clear out the clutter…My wife and I recently moved from the house we owned and lived in for over17 years. You know how much clutter you can accumulate in 17 years?!! My garage was the worst! But we tried to get rid of as many things as we could before the move so we could “travel light”. The same is true in mission, travel light to be able to focus on what you have been called to. Traveling light with less “clutter” makes more room for what we really need out there: love, compassion, mercy and generosity. When we travel light we will be more able to “drive out demons” like the 12…demons of hate, of prejudice, of hopelessness and despair.
In closing, all of us baptized have been called (chosen) to be prophets of the Lord God and are sent out on mission trusting in the Lord for all things to preach the Gospel message in our everyday lives in our particular mission field. We are ordinary people chosen for extra-ordinary things (things of heaven). But to have something to take we must possess it within us. Get close to Jesus, learn from Him and His Church. We are not in this alone. We have each other and the Church sent out 2 by 2 to our particular mission field. Yes we may be met with resistance and rejection. That’s ok. So was Jesus as we heard in last week’s Gospel in His home town. Our responsibility is to preach the message by word and deed and leave the rest to God.
At the end of mass one of the choices for dismissal and the one I like to use is “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.” When we do that in our everyday life we are prophets of the Lord God!