July 15, 2012 – Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today’s readings continue the theme of prophecy that we focused on last week. God calls us to proclaim the good news to all the nations, to bring men to Him by our words and our deeds even though, as last week’s gospel reminds us, we are sure to face opposition.
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house” (Mk. 6:4).
But what this week’s readings emphasize for us is the fact that the Lord does not call us to carry out this mission and then simply leave us be. Rather, He equips us for the work, and He assists us as we do it.
“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 before the foundation of the world” (second reading).
This also brings to mind the quote, “God does not choose the ready; He makes ready the chosen.”
In today’s Gospel, we see Him choose the twelve for a particular mission and equip them for their journey.
“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 with them but a walking stick” (Gospel) – His authority was all they needed.
And in today’s first reading, that same theme plays out.
“I was no prophet. … I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores. The Lord took me from following the flock and said to me, “Go, and prophesy to my people Israel” (first reading).
He calls each one of us to be His disciples, to live lives that bear witness to the Gospel, to live our lives for Him, because He knows that is what we were made for, and He equips us to do so. He gives us all that we need to accept the mission and to carry it out.
It is our responsibility to make the choice. He will not force us to give ourselves back to Him in loving service. He wants us to freely choose Him, and He has given us all that we need to do so and more.
All good things come by way of gift from the Lord. We have nothing – not our time on Earth, not the talents we boast, not the money we make – because we merited it. It is all gift. Even the grace He gives us to live a life of faith, it is all gift. What will we do with what He has given?
Will we choose to live for Him, to proclaim the Gospel with our lives and so build the Kingdom of Heaven? Will we choose to give ourselves back to the Lord in gratitude for the many gifts He has given us (including our very lives), and use those gifts to proclaim His praises.
That’s what it means to be a Christian disciple – to recognize that God has called each one of us, to recognize the many gifts He has given us, and to use those gifts as we answer His call – glorifying Him in all we say and do.