A Reflection on the Readings for the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 11, 2021
Reading I: Amos 7:12-15
Responsorial Psalm::85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
Reading II: Ephesians 1:3-14 or 1:3-10
Gospel: Mark 6:7-13
As Catholics, we are called daily to make a choice . . . will we choose life (the Lord) or will we choose death (the world)? Will I carry my cross daily as the Lord instructs us in Luke 9:23 or will be ashamed of the cross? Will I be the Lord’s prophet and proclaim HIS word to the world around me?
“Choose this day whom you will serve. . .as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Jos 24:15)
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.” (Dt 30:19)
First Reading (Amos 7:12-15)
“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.”
In the book of prophet Amos, the people of God in the Northern kingdom of Israel had forsaken the Lord by worshiping pagan gods. Amos was sent to call them to repentance, but when the allurements of the world are powerful, leading a holy life of temperance and faithfulness is not very easy. Amos called Israel to return to God and forsake their unfaithfulness, but they did not listen.
You and I, by virtue of our baptism, are called to be priest, prophet and king in the image of the one into which we are baptized – Jesus Christ. We are called to be prophets and save God’s people by being an example of following God’s will and loving each other as Christ commanded (Jn 15:12). It is a difficult task, to say the least, but baptism is our initiation into this economy of salvation for which our Lord suffered and died – we have an obligation to evangelize those that the Lord has placed in our midst, lest they die.
Second Reading (Eph 1:3-14 )
“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 installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.”
Now that we have received the first installation of being equipped for evangelization through baptism, we must receive the second – the Sacrament of Confirmation. In this sacrament, we are “sealed with the Holy Spirit” such that we are enabled with the courage to evangelize our family and world around us. Our source of courage and conviction come from the grace we receive from Confirmation to be “another Christ” in this world. By this action, we give praise and glory to Christ by preaching the fullness of truth given to us through the Church.
As such, we await for the completion of our inheritance when at our judgment we anticipate the Lord’s words, “Come, inherit the kingdom prepared for you . . .” (Mt 25:34)
Gospel Reading (Mark 6:7-13)
“Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits . . . So they went off and preached repentance.“
If you are wondering what IT is that we are to proclaim, here it is: Ours is the great story of how God created each one of us out of love and for love. But then we were enslaved through sin through disobedience by listening to the lies of the enemy and letting trust in our Creator die in our hearts. The Lord who loves us came to the rescue in Jesus Christ, “God became man, so that man could become God.” He died and rose again to elevate us to a higher dignity and calling, made clean and new.
The only question left to answer is, “How will I respond?” Our goal should be to become fully human, living out our God-given purpose so that we and others can have the fullness of peace and happiness our hearts have always been longing for! On this side of eternity, we can only see our destiny as “in a mirror dimly.” But in the end we will see him “face to face.” (1 Cor 13:12)
Brothers and sisters, I pray that you strive every day to “fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith.” (2 Tim 4:7) Hold fast to the truth so that “no one may seize your crown.” (Rev 3:11) and bring as many people along with you on this journey to our eternal home.
Peace be with you,