15th Sunday in Ordinary Time by Fr. Joe Tedesco

Homily of 15 July 2018

Amos 7: 12-15; Ephesians 1: 3-14; Mark 6: 7 – 13

We all love a good Story. Today we reflect on the greatest story of all: What God has done for us. We heard it in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians where he describes the gifts of God bestowed on us in Christ.

1-We are blessed with every Spiritual blessing.
2-We are destined for adoption by God as God’s Sons and daughters.
3-We have redemption and the forgiveness of our sins through the blood of Christ.
4-God has made known to us the mystery of his will that all would be one in Christ.
5-We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit for the Praise of God’s glory.

These gifts give us eternal life and invite us into our life with God in Christ. The other readings tell us how we participate in God’s plan. And our challenge is like that of Amos. We feel that we are unlikely candidates to share in the Plan but none the less, we are called like the Twelve to preach the Kingdom and nothing else matters. Jesus instructs them not to worry about material things, or physical concerns. The Twelve are extending Jesus’ own ministry. So, they are to have real trust. Rely on the hospitality of others, those who accept their word, and those who join them in faith. Preaching repentance is the central theme, and the Ephesians letter brings together the stories of Amos and the Twelve, that is gathering all in harmony, in faithfulness and reconciliation with our loving and faithful God.

The equipment rule Jesus gives the Twelve is a sign of the dependence on the community. These are the new people of God, the true Israel that is forming out of the wilderness and coming into the final age in Christ — the Reign of God in our midst, which is the age of mutual solidarity in Christ. So Paul is celebrating our place as partners in the work of redemption by our being called to live in Christ, with every spiritual blessing. Living the life in the Spirit with power to continue the building up of the Kingdom, we do it by living with mercy, that is God’s loving kindness and faithfulness.

So, we want to be authentic people of God, sharing God’s mercy, ministering peace to a world desperately in need of God’s peace. And gathering companions on the way, as we fulfill our role as prophets – proclaiming Christ to the world by your actions of justice, peace and reconciliation, and by our life of simplicity and prayer. After all, we are those who are baptized to be Christ in the world.

Thomas Merton writes in Seasons of Celebration, that mercy is the fountain and hidden source of God’s Love and thus a trustworthy clue to the nature of what loving the neighbor, and Christ within the neighbor, should mean. So, our call is to develop as Merton says, “a climate of mercy,” and that this is the ground of human activity. Merton goes on to say that, perhaps the encounter is outwardly sordid or unattractive, but the presence of God is there, and God is in communion with humanity. The Twelve cured the sick and drove out demons. It’s helping people come to healing and their true self. This is what we are called to do as well.

For the contemplative, our ministry is our call to prayer with a world-view that encompasses all life. A Hindu monk, whom Merton talks about in his book, The Seven Story Mountain, a Dr. Brahmarchari, influenced him in a deep way which lead to his conversion. This monk said, when speaking of prayer for the world, that “In much the same way that a radio station broadcasting from one corner of the globe can be received almost anywhere. When prayer is done faithfully, lovingly, and with great intensity, the devotion requires a tremendous power, percolating the entire realm in which humankind has its spiritual being.” So, we too believe that in a real way that our prayer connects us to all people and our prayer brings us into God’s presence.

St. Paul tells us that we exist for the Praise of God’s glory. Really that’s everything, that’s it: our life in God for God. So, we embrace a life of prayer, attentive to the Spirit at work in us, attentive to the needs of all, attentive to Christ. Our daily Eucharist drawing us ever more deeply into the mystery of Christ sacrifice which we seek to make our own, as we surrender everything, so we can truly live for the Praise of God’s glory.