Theme: THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH
- Amos 7:12-15;
- Psalm 84 (85): 9-14. R/ v. 8;
- Ephesians 1:3-10 (Shorter Form)
- Mark 6:7-13
Today is the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us about the mission of the Church. The gospel today tells us that Jesus sent out the Twelve to preach repentance in word and in deed!
He sent them out two by two, a symbol of community, because the Church is a community! (CCB; CS) That is why our religious priests, brothers and sisters live in communities of four! And that is why we build BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities)! The Church is a community of communities of love and unity!
He instructed them not to take anything for the journey, no food, no “backpack”, no money, and not even a spare tunic/shirt! (CCB) They were to depend on God for everything! They were to believe in providence! Again, that is why our religious priests, brothers and sisters take the vow of poverty/simplicity!
And they were to preach repentance, that is, to turn away from sin and the world, and to turn to God, to the God of Jesus Christ, the God of love! Only the God of love can save us! They were to cast out devils and cure the sick!
The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us about the mission of the Church. The mission of the Church is to be the prophet of God. She has to speak the word of God to society and to governments, especially on issues of justice and peace!
The first reading tells us that the prophet Amos prophesied against the Northern Kingdom of Israel for injustices and for oppressing of the poor and the weak. Amos was then told by the priest Amaziah to go back to Judah to make his living there as a professional prophet. But Amos replied that he was not a professional prophet, but he was called by God! He was not a prophet by profession, but a prophet by vocation! (Craghan)
Today the Church is to be the prophet of God, to speak the word of God to society and governments, especially on issues of social justice and peace! The Church must not be involved in party politics, but the Church must be involved in politics of justice and peace!
The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a prayer for mercy and salvation, and for justice and peace! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:
“Let us see, O lord, your mercy and give us your saving help.” (Ps 84 (85): 8; SM)
And thus verses 9, 11, 12 and 14 of the responsorial psalm:
“I will hear what the Lord God has to say, a voice that speaks of peace, peace for his people. …. Mercy and faithfulness have met; justice and peace have embraced. Faithfulness shall spring from the earth and justice look down from heaven. …. Justice shall march before him and peace shall follow his steps.” (SM)
The word “justice” appears three times and the word “peace” appears four times in this short responsorial psalm! The themes of “justice” and “peace” are related! There can be no peace without justice!
There can be no peace without justice, but there can be no justice without forgiveness! (Pope John Paul II)
Peace! Shalom! Salvation!
The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but again, the second reading has something very important to tell us! The second reading tells us about God’s plan of salvation fulfilled in Jesus Christ! (CSB)
The second reading tells us that this plan of salvation in Jesus Christ is a blessing, a favor, a grace and a free gift in Jesus Christ! (NJBC)
Finally, the second reading tells us that God’s plan of salvation in Jesus Christ includes all of creation and the whole universes! (Fuller)
How inspiring! How inspiring!
Today in this Mass, we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ, and we thank God for the Twelve Apostles, and we thank God for his Church; and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit, so that as a Church and as individual Christians, we may preach repentance, cast out devils and cure the sick! And so that as a Church and as individual Christians we may speak God’s word to society and governments on issues of justice and peace! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!