15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Gospel  (Mark 6: 7-13)

Jesus made a tour round the villages, teaching. Then he summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs giving them authority over the unclean spirits. And he 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.’ And he said to them, ‘If you enter a house anywhere, stay there until you leave the district. And if any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them.’ So they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them.

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Reflection

In today’s First Reading, God asks a simple farmer called Amos to go and preach to a self-sufficient people who were paying lip service to God.  In the Gospel, Jesus asks his apostles to go and continue his work of proclaiming the Good News of God’s love.

At the end of every Mass, we are sent out too.  The deacon or priest tells us to “Go” – “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord” or “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life”.  Like Amos in the First Reading and the apostles in the Gospel, we are to go and proclaim the Good News of God’s love by the lives we lead.

But how do we do this?  Perhaps this little story will help.

One winter’s day, a man came upon a small boy sitting begging on a wind-swept city bridge. The boy was shivering from the cold and obviously in need of a good meal. On seeing the boy, the man got very angry and said to God: “God, why don’t you do something about this little boy?” And God replied, “I’ve already done something about him.” This surprised the man, so he said, “I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but whatever you did, it doesn’t seem to be working.” “I agree with you there”, replied God. “By the way, what did you do?” the man asked. “I made you” came the reply.

 

COUNTDOWN TO ADOREMUS… 8 Weeks

eucharist-our-vocation

Illustration by Elizabeth Wang, R-60018-CW, ‘The Good Shepherd’ © Radiant Light.

The Eucharist is our vocation

Jesus said that no one lights a lamp only to put it under a tub. The lamp must be in a place where it can give light to take away the darkness.

In the same way the Eucharist, that we are so blessed to receive, cannot be hidden away. It needs to show itself in our words and actions. It is a gift not only for ourselves, but through us, it can be the gift of God’s presence and God’s love for the world.

Wherever we go we carry Christ within us.

At the end of every Mass, we are blest and sent out renewed and clear about who we are and the work God has given us to do.

Pope Francis

“Repeat frequently that “I am on a mission” and not simply that “I have a mission.” To be on a permanent mission “requires courage, audacity, imagination and the desire to go beyond, to go even further” … “The Lord invites those called to go out of themselves in order to be a gift for others” (5 January 2017).

Prayer Moment

Prayer written by Blessed John Henry Newman:

God has created me to do him some definite service;
he has committed some work to me
which he has not committed to another.
I have my mission – I may never know it in this life,
but I shall be told it in the next.

I am a link in a chain,
a bond of connection between persons.
He has not created me for nothing.
I shall do good. I shall do his work.
I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth
in my own place while not intending it
– if I do but keep his commandments.

Therefore, I will trust him.
Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away.
If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve him;
in perplexity, my perplexity may serve him;
if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve him.
He does nothing in vain.


14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Urgent Call to Prayer

Let us pray for the many people involved in trying to rescue the twelve young boys and their coach trapped in a cave in Thailand.  So far, four boys have been rescued safely, thanks be to God.  But there’s still a long way to go.

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Gospel  (Mark 6: 1-6)

Jesus went to his home town and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, ‘Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?’ And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

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Reflection

The hardest thing about living out the call of God in our own life isn’t always opposition from ‘enemies of the faith’.  Sometimes it’s being misunderstood by those close to us – the people we rub elbows with, our friends, our relatives.  They know us.  They know we’re one of them.  They know our faults.  We’re hesitant to become more involved in our Church, or in issues of justice and peace because we can hear them say, if only to themselves, “Who are you to be saying and doing such things?”

Dorothy Day was a laywoman who lived in New York and dedicated her life to the poor, and to the cause of justice and peace.  Cardinal John O’Connor, not long before his death, asked Rome to begin the process of considering whether she should become a canonized saint, and perhaps one day she will be canonized.

That’s interesting because during her lifetime, Dorothy Day resisted those who would refer to her as a ‘saint’.  She said that when they call you a saint, people no longer have to take you seriously.  They put you in a different category and excuse themselves from having to even think about doing the same things you do.  After all, you’re a ‘saint’ and they’re not.  They’re just regular people.  Dorothy Day once quipped, “Don’t trivialize me by trying to make me a saint.”

That’s the problem.  We think that regular folks aren’t holy.  Regular folks don’t get involved in working for the poor.  Regular folks don’t pray much.  Regular folks just more or less go to church and lead a ‘normal’ life.

Trouble is, a ‘normal’ life for a disciple of the Lord isn’t always what others might consider normal.  At baptism we symbolically die to one way of living and rise to a new and different way of life.  That’s what Christianity was called before it was ever called ‘Christianity’.  It was called ‘The Way’.  Christianity is a way of life.

The truth is, we’re sometimes reluctant to follow this ‘way of life’ not because of godless people who might persecute us.  The truth is, we’re sometimes uneasy about living out our faith because we might get the same reaction Jesus got from his own townspeople:  Where did this man get all this? Why… he’s just one of us.

(Bishop Ken Utener, 9 July 2000)

COUNTDOWN TO ADOREMUS… 9 Weeks

eucharist-our-thanksgiving

Illustration by Elizabeth Wang © Radiant Light – ‘The Mass is like a window into time, through which we are present to the Saving Sacrifice of Christ, as Mary looks on’.

The Eucharist is our thanksgiving to God

In the Mass, Jesus is making the greatest prayer there has ever been. He gives himself to his Father to the last drop of his blood. He holds back nothing. He gives everything. It is this prayer of self-giving in love for sinners like us that is at the very heart of the Eucharist. Here we see what love looks like.

How can we say thank you to God in a way that even comes close to being worthy of the great gift he has given us in his Son? God makes it possible. We offer what we can – the fruit of the earth and the work of our hands. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, God accepts these simple offerings and transforms them into the Body and Blood of his Son.

Pope Francis

“At every celebration of Mass, our lives, offered in union with Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, become, in him, an offering of praise and thanksgiving pleasing to the Father, for the salvation of the world. The liturgical renewal called for by the Second Vatican Council sought to help the faithful understand more fully and share more fruitfully in the Eucharist. At Mass, Jesus becomes truly present and allows us in some way, like the Apostle Thomas, to touch his flesh and renew our faith in him” (15 November 2017).

Prayer Moment

Take a moment to thank God for the gift of his Son, Jesus.
What gift are you most grateful for in your life?
How can you show God that you are grateful to him not just in words but in your actions?

Repeat the words on the banner:
This is my body… broken for you
broken for me…
broken for… (name someone who needs prayer).

Excerpt from ‘This is my Body’ by Jimmy Owens & Damian Lundy © 1978 Bud John Songs/EMI/Christian Music Publishing/CopyCare. www.kevinmayhew.com