Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
This weekend the Church celebrates the Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time. Both the first reading and the gospel deal with the idea of being sent on a mission for the Lord. The reading from Amos makes clear that God picks whomever He wishes and the Gospel reading shows the sense of mission and the urgency that should be visible in the behavior of those sent. Paul gives us a beautiful picture of God’s love in the new status of Christians as adopted children of God. The readings ask us to reconsider the fullness of our own responses to the mission that God has given each of us by virtue of our baptism and confirmation. Do we respond with the openness of Paul and the faithfulness of the Apostles or do we just close everyone else out concentrating only on oneself? we are also asked how we respond to others who have been given a task by the Lord. Do we react like Amaziah in our first reading when we encounter someone sent by God to help us? What kind of authority and power does the Lord Jesus want us to exercise on his behalf?
Jesus gave his apostles both the power and the authority to speak and to act in his name. This power comes down from St. Peter the first pope right down through the centuries to the present Holy Father and the bishops and priests of our own time and place. Jesus commanded them to do the works which he did and they were to heal, to free people from the power of the evil one, and to speak the word of God – the good news of the gospel which they received from Jesus. When Jesus spoke of power and authority he did something unheard of, He wedded power and authority with love and humility. The world and those within it more often than not seek power for their own selfish gain. Jesus teaches us to use any power we might have for the good of our neighbour and those around and about us who may be in any need. The Lord Jesus commissions all the members of his body the church including all of us to be his ambassadors and missionaries – to bring the good news of the gospel to all peoples, lands, and nations wherever we are. He freely pours out his Holy Spirit upon each one of us so that we may have the confidence and boldness to speak and act in his name wherever he places and sends us. Why does Jesus tell the apostles to “travel light” with little or no provision? “Poverty of spirit” frees us from greed and preoccupation with possessions and makes ample room for God’s provision.
The Lord wants his disciples to be dependent on him and not on themselves and he wants us to be dependent on him as well. He wants to work through and in each one of us for the glory of God .
Are you and I ready to handle the power and authority which God wishes us to exercise on his behalf that is the power of humble service working with love and humility? The Lord entrusts us with gifts and talents. Are we eager to place ourselves at his service, to do whatever he asks of us, and to witness his truth and saving power to whoever he sends us? Last Sunday in a neighbouring parish here where I am there was an Ordination of a young man to the priesthood to serve in our Diocese. We pray today that many people of all ages and abilities will have the courage to do whatever Jesus asks them to do especially when he calls them to follow him into the priesthood or religious life.