15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday, July 11, 2021

First reading: 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.”

Second reading: Eph. 1:3–14

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.

Gospel: 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.

In other words Fr. Patricio de los Reyes, SVD (Liceo del Verbo Divino, Tacloban City)

A General Superior of the SVD, visiting our Mission in Africa, urged us to be financially self-sufficient. One of the things he said was that we should preach in a way that would attract the interest of the people, and that would make them say in their hearts, “Come on, preacher, preach more and I will also put more into the basket.” This was a fascinating idea for me, and it has been imprinted in my mind that from then on, I have made it a point to prepare my homilies well. Even though short, it should give people something to take with them to contemplate on as they walk home from church.

The words I speak may be prophetic words that would challenge and lead people to repentance and conversion. They may be words of comfort and consolation that could heal. They could be words that may drive away people’s fears, doubts, worries, and anxieties, or drive away the demons of anger, hatred, indifference, maliciousness, untruthfulness, greed, and other evils that disturb individual and communal peace and unity. I believe I have the power to achieve these because, as a believer, I have also been blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. The second reading tells us of the riches of grace and power bestowed on us by God through Jesus Christ, in whom I put my entire trust and faith. “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me,” St. Paul testified in Phil. 4:13.

As a Christian, I have to take the following steps to make my life a prophetic one. First, to live simply, devoid of the influence of materialism and consumerism. Second, to put all my trust and faith in the power of God alone through Jesus Christ. This means that I ought to believe that I have already been given all the gifts and power that I need to make my life a testimony to the people. God has empowered me through Jesus Christ. This empowered life may become an instrument of God’s healing, freedom, and wholeness to the people.

When I have become a testimony to a life that is fully dependent on God’s providence and power, I need not worry about my needs. Anyway, today, no missionary has died of hunger and thirst. Moreover, I believe it is good to be detached and worry-free that I may be able to focus on my task of proclaiming the Kingdom of God.

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