15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 11th July 2021

Theme: WE ARE TO PREACH THE WORD OF GOD, CAST OUT DEVILS, AND CURE THE SICK

  • Amos 7:12-15;
  • Psalm 84 (85): 9-14. R/ v. 8;
  • Ephesians 1:3-10 (Shorter Form);
  • Mark 6:7-13

1.    Today is the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B. Today is also Sunday of the Word of God. The Bible is the word of God. The readings today tell us to preach the word of God.

    The gospel today tells us to preach the good news of repentance (“Repent, and believe the gospel.” cf. Mk 1:15/NJB), to cast out demons and to heal the sick. The good news has the power to effect repentance, to cast out devils and to heal the sick. The good news is about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the giving of the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit of God’s love, mercy and forgiveness; the Holy Spirit of sanctification and salvation. Those who believe in the good news receive the Holy Spirit. And it is in the power of the Holy Spirit that we effect repentance, cast out devils and heal the sick. In fact the good news has the power to prevent us from sinning, prevent the devil from possessing us, and the good news has the power to prevent us from sickness. Indeed, prevention is better than cure!

    The bad news of law, justice and punishment has no power to effect repentance, to cast out devils and to heal the sick. So proclaim the good news and not the bad news! Thus we read in the gospel today:

    “So they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them.” (Mk 6:13)

    The gospel today also tells us that in order to preach the good news of repentance, and to cast out devils, and to cure the sick, we have to depend totally on God. Thus we read in the gospel today:

    “And Jesus instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, ‘Do not take a spare tunic.’” (Mk 6:8-9)

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. But the first reading tells us that the prophet Amos preached bad news. The first reading tells us that the priest Amaziah expelled Amos because he preached bad news. Amos was preaching against Israel and its king. He was prophesying the destruction of Israel and its king because of idolatry and injustices. (CSB) Amos was a prophet who prophesied in the eighth century BC in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. He was a shepherd/farmer from the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Thus we read in the first reading:

    “Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, said to Amos, ‘Go away, seer, get back to the land of Judah; earn your bread there, do your prophesying there. We want no more prophesying in Bethel; this is the royal sanctuary, the national temple.’” (Am 7:12-13)      

    Today there are those who think that we should proclaim bad news, because today there is also idolatry, that is, the worship of the false gods of money, power, fame, etc., and today there are also injustices as the gap between the rich and the poor nations widen! But we are in the New Testament; we have to proclaim the good news. The good news has the power to change people so that they worship the one true God and so that they practice social justice!     

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a “prayer for the restoration of God’s favor”. It is a prayer for salvation by God. (HCSB) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “Let us see, O Lord, your mercy and give us your saving help.” (Ps 84 (85): 8) Or a better translation: “Show us, Lord, your love; grant us your salvation.” (Ps 84 (85): 8/CSB)

    The responsorial psalm itself is an announcement/oracle of salvation by the psalmist/prophet on behalf of God (HCSB); it is an announcement of love, mercy, peace, salvation, justice, faithfulness, righteousness, prosperity, fruitfulness, happiness, glory, etc.!      

4. The second reading tells us of God’s plan of salvation and its fulfillment through Jesus Christ. (CSB) The first part of the second reading tells us of God the Father’s plan of salvation (Ep 1:3-6) and the second part of the second reading tells us of its fulfillment through Jesus Christ! (Ep 1:7-10) Thus the caption of the second reading: “God chose us in Christ, before the foundation of the world.” (Ep 1:4/Vatican II SUNDAY MISSAL)

    “God’s plan of salvation” (NJB) is before creation, in creation, and is fulfilled in salvation in Jesus Christ. Creation has a purpose, a meaning, and a direction! The meaning, purpose and direction of creation is salvation in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega! Thus Fr. Teilhard de Chardin SJ (priest and scientist) tells us that evolution gives rise to consciousness and consciousness effects union! Thus we read in the second reading:

    “He has let us know the mystery of his purpose, the hidden plan he so kindly made in Christ from the beginning to act upon when the times had run their course to the end: that he would bring everything together under Christ, as head, everything in the heavens and everything on earth.” (Ep 1:9-10)

5. Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us preach the good news of repentance, cast out devils, and cure the sick!     Amen.                                                                                                                              

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