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Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time


He Sent Them Out


Reading 1
Am 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
Ps 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.
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.

Reading II
Eph 1:3-14 or Eph 1:3-10

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 favor 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 favor
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 installment of our inheritance
toward redemption as God's possession, to the praise of his glory.


Mk 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.


A reflection on today's Scripture:

Most people are "turned off" by fiery denunciations of sin by TV preachers. Even in the homilies we hear at Mass, we don't want anything too heavy, or any sharp criticism of our failings. But we do love to hear a humorous story. Often, that's all we remember.

This Sunday's reading from the Book of Amos, is about a prosperous sheep-breeder and a "dresser of sycamore trees" from the southern kingdom of Judah whom God called to prophecy in the northern kingdom of Israel. Here, King Jeroboam had made his land prosperous, with many of its citizens rich and comfortable. Unfortunately, the rich exploited the poor, making their lives almost intolerable.

Now, along comes the prophet Amos with a harsh message from God that their nation is nearing its end. God, in His anger, will send death to the king and slavery for its people. When the priest at the northern temple of Bethel hears this, he expels Amos, telling him to go home to Judah. But, Amos tries to explain to Amaziah that it wasn't his idea to become a prophet in the first place, but that his message is authentic, and they had better listen to it. Alas, it was to no avail. His prophecy came true when the Assyrians cruelly invaded Israel within a few years. The message of the prophets was rarely welcomed; many of the prophets were rejected and others were killed.

Today's Gospel from Mark gives Jesus' instructions to His disciples on how they, like the prophets, must conduct themselves. In effect, they are to travel light and rely on the generosity of townspeople for food and lodging. If they are badly treated, or their message is not welcomed, they are to "shake the dust from their feet" in protest, and go to another town.

Many in our society today are unwilling to listen to Christ's message. Fewer and fewer people, especially the young, attend Mass on Sundays. In effect, they are rejecting the prophets of our time.

Perhaps we should ask ourselves some questions this week:

1) Like Amos, we have been called; as disciples of Christ, we have been "missioned" to promote Christ's message through earnest, daily prayer, through discussions with our neighbors, and especially by the example of our lives. How well am I doing that?

And 2) What will the judgment of God be on us if we fail in our responsibility? What will God's judgment be on our society which is so unwilling to listen to the Lord's prophets?

- Msgr. Paul Whitmore | email: pwhitmore29@yahoo.com


Reflection for July 12, 2009



"In Him..." –Ephesians 1:4, 11, 13
St. Paul is completely preoccupied with being in Jesus. In today's passage from Ephesians, Paul mentions benefits and blessings that come from being in Jesus numerous times in twelve verses. Paul is underscoring the critical differences of our location: it makes an eternal difference whether we live our life in Jesus or outside of Jesus. Paul proclaims that in Jesus we:
have "every spiritual blessing in the heavens" (Eph 1:3),
have been "chosen" before the world began, to be holy and blameless (Eph 1:4, 11, 13),
have been chosen "to be full of love" (Eph 1:4),
have "glorious favor...bestowed on us" (Eph 1:6), and
"have been redeemed and our sins forgiven" (Eph 1:7).

The best way to be in Jesus is to have Jesus in you. Most of you have received the eucharistic Jesus today. Jesus reveals that the person "who feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me," and He will remain in them (Jn 6:56; see also Jn 17:23).
However, in our God-given free will, we can choose to not be in Jesus, but rather be separated from Him. As the song goes, we can go through life saying, "I did it my way." There's a place for those who have chosen not to be in Jesus. "This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called 'hell' " (Catechism, 1033).





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