15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading I Amos 7:12-15
Reading II Ephesians 1:3-14
Gospel Mark 6:7-13
In the first reading we are told the story of Amos and how Amos was told to get out of the King’s presence, to get out of his temple and to preach for money. Amos said that he was not a prophet and he had never belonged to any band or group of prophets. He told the priest Amaziah that he was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamore trees, someone who helped tend to a particular species of sycamore trees and helped prune them so their fruit would ripen. He told Amaziah that the Lord had called him to prophesize to the people of Israel.
We get the feeling if we read further that even though he was threatened, Amos did not leave because this is what God had called him to do and he trusted in God no matter what happened. He knew that this was what he was called to do and nothing was going to stop him because he trusted in God and had a relationship with God.
In the Gospel we learn how Jesus sent out the apostles, two by two, to teach repentance and to anoint those who were sick, cure them and drive out evil spirits. But there were requirements for this journey. The disciples were not to take much of anything, not a change of clothes or money. They were allowed to bring sandals and a walking stick, and they were to entrust themselves to the Lord when they went out on this mission. They were to entrust themselves to God the Father.
This doesn’t mean it will be easy and Jesus told them, “There may be some who will not accept you. There will be those who do not want you among them. If so, leave them. But continue to preach the Gospel and continue to go to them nonetheless. Entrust yourself to the Lord, and entrust the outcome to the Lord.”
In the second reading from Paul to the Ephesians, we hear and learn about the greatness and the mystery of God’s will, part of it at least. We know that God wills for us salvation, and wills for us to be with him for eternal life. In order for us to fulfill that — we need to entrust ourselves to the Lord, and we need to be in a relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit because most of us are not going to trust someone else to a deep extent. We are not going trust someone with our lives, and we are not going to entrust someone else with eternal life unless we have a relationship with that other person.
Ultimately that is what we are called to. This is not just a message for people in the Bible and it is not just a message for the saints of the past. But this is a message for us today and in the future. We are called to be in a relationship with God and to entrust ourselves with him so that we can have eternal life with the Holy Trinity.
We all have the saints to intercede for us. We have the examples of the saints who often had difficult times in their lives — even when they trusted in God. But they continued to trust in God. We all have people in our lives and we think to ourselves, “That is a holy person. That person is really close to God.”
Well, guess what? That is what we are called to. We are called to the joy of relationship with each other, the joy of relationship with the saints, the joy of relationship with the Church, and the joy of relationship with the Holy Trinity. And we do that by talking and communicating with the Trinity and by asking the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit to be in our lives. We do that by participating in the sacraments, particularly through the sacrament of reconciliation and the sacrament of Eucharist. But not just those, all seven of the sacraments are important.
Those who marry can be a witness to the love of God in their own relationships, both as husband and wife, but also to their children. They can share with each other, and they can share with the world, the love of Christ.
For those of us who are priests we can share in our relationships with all of you, and we can share the joy of Christ with the world. Those who are strengthened by the anointing of the sick experience the love of God. So when we participate in the sacraments we draw closer to God, and that is when we can trust ourselves to him and share in his joy.
So as we continue with the celebration of the Eucharist, and as we continue throughout in our daily lives, we ask God for the faith to trust ourselves more and more and to be a greater witness to the Gospel.
Father Adam Pritchard was ordained a priest on Saturday, May 23, 2015, and is parochial vicar at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy, IL.