Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Catholic Reflections 679 : Fifteenth Sunday, Ordinary Time. Year B - Sunday, 15 July 2018

Homily Fifteenth Sunday, Ordinary Time. Year B - Sunday, 15 July 2018

Amos 7:12-15. God sent me.
Psalm:
84:9-14 Lord, show us your mercy and love, and grant us your salvation.
Ephesians 1:3-14. God chose us.
Mark 6:7-13. The Twelve are sent.

Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the
Fifteenth Sunday, Ordinary Time. Year B - Sunday, 15 July 2018 by clicking this link here: https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/15b-faith-hope-and-love-ep-104 (EPISODE: 104 )

prologue:
Jesus commissioned the disciples to go out “two by two.” --In our modern culture the desire “go it alone” on projects and challenges is a fairly familiar approach, but this 'being an island unto oneself," would have been a much rarer attitude, back in the days when belonging to a community was almost EVERYTHING. One’s survival often depending upon it. Nowadays it seems a popular goal to be a ‘self-made,// self-sustaining person’. And we can be tempted to take this same attitude with our relationship with God. Many people would tend to feel more comfortable in their “me and God” approach to their faith than the "God and all of us as a community" idea. We might also be tempted to distance ourselves from God, hiding away our faults until we have 'fixed them up ourselves,' and then feel worthy to present ourselves again to God. This isn't the way it works!! Our Lord teaches the wisdom of "not going it alone" on our spiritual journey, especially when we’re trying to share our faith or live it in its very public dimensions. In the process of taking our faith out into the world and living it, we may not need a lot of baggage, but we do need other people of faith to support us; to inspire us, guide, help and challenge us - to the message clearly in our hearts. There is no such thing as a solo Christian and it is not something that we can do best at home by ourselves.
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Homily:
This weekend we are reminded that we are all called to be faithful disciples, not "professional Prophets":

I was struck by a simple statement based on this weekend's gospel; by a Bible commentator and 12th century Greek bishop, who writes:

"WHO would not blush in embarrassment, and get rid of all their possessions and embrace a life of poverty when they saw an apostle carrying neither BACKPACK nor even bread; all of which is so very essential?" [THEOPHYLACT (C. 1050-1109)]

Jesus must have known the effect and the "radical originality" of what he was proposing. The gospel this weekend highlights the differences in the first reading; // There were people in Jesus' time, who were "professional prophets"; they were born into a family of prophets; This was the "family business"; just like others might be carpenters; some were prophets; And they made their money and earned their bread and shelter by plying their trade as a prophet; which was often a rather financially rewarding occupation. Particularly if you told people what they wanted to hear and avoided offending anyone with the truth.


But Amos in the first reading makes it clear that he is no "professional prophet," but rather, Amos is simply a poor shepherd; called by God to speak God's message to the people. Jesus calls his followers to that same authenticity and simplicity -- to be open and faithful to God's word and God's vision, no matter how challenging, no matter how difficult. However, at the same time, Jesus is calling us to an attitude and practice of simplicity in our lifestyles, and desires; To live more simply and to travel lightly and with less baggage; both physical baggage and spiritual baggage too! And – to think of it - emotional baggage as well !!!

The second reading this weekend is truly beautiful too. I like its call to simplicity. The letter of St Paul says: "Blessed be the Lord who gives us every spiritual gift, and calls us to be holy and spotless and to ..........'live through his love."


It reminds us that God made us live in simplicity, --- And in trust, holiness; and freedom; and that we were designed to be people filled with God's Spirit. We are invited to gently walk with God in justice, love and peace. It is such an attractive and reassuring message, which seems so fresh and so inviting to us, in a world where we seem to be being called to the opposite - to possessiveness; to indulgence; to self-realisation; to materialism and to an unapologetic participation in unwholesome words, practices and thoughts.

If, as Saint Paul says, God has showered us with EVERY spiritual gift, how are we making use of all of these gifts to live our lives in harmony with God's loving vision for the world.?
The spiritual gifts include wisdom, understanding, knowledge, discernment, courage, reverence, and wonder.

It makes me think…..although we often hear people describing our modern society as civilised and enlightened, (and in many ways, this is true), but in other ways, it is not true! It seems to me that one of the greatest tragedies and scandals in our modern society is that although we live in an age of enlightenment and with thousands of years of history and wisdom to tap into; nevertheless so many people seem to be NOT using their highly developed minds and their capacity for thinking things through when it comes to their daily actions and decisions. What is the point of having access to a vast array of information and wisdom, if we don't tap into it, or if we misuse it or distort it to simply confirm only what we want to hear.

We have seen some of the greatest insights into science, technology, ethics, Bible study, theology, medicine and so on; and as today's readings attest: we have all the spiritual gifts offered to us by God; But what good are they if there are people keep acting without thinking??? If people live their lives without reflection, discernment, or prudence. Surely then, the gifts of heaven and earth remain unwrapped and unused, and therefore quite useless.


Perhaps one of the greatest sins of our modern time is the sin of not using our gifts when we have the power to do so. We are capable of refusing to settle for simplistic or knee-jerk solutions to very complicated problems...... // We know it is much easier to tear down others plans and arguments than it is to build them up and to help make them work........ God has given humans the genius to work through the complex issues of life and weigh them up carefully in ways that go well beyond self-interest....... That is, serving.... self-sacrificing ----- 'the road less travelled'//
There seem to be all-too-many examples of people ‘acting in ignorance or lack of evaluation”..... without due consideration for the kind of world we are creating by our decisions, actions and the consequences of these decisions on ourselves and others.... //,, and again, the scriptures tell us that, as Christians, we see our lives as designed for walking in accordance with God’s vision for the world.... which is a life-giving and freeing vision, but one that is a way of love and self-giving... ... /// Jesus’ gospel shows no sign of being about living and acting without thinking, or without counting the cost... and it certainly isn’t about the easy path or self-serving choices...

Jesus is asking his followers to be detached from things because they can clutter, obstruct and weigh us down in achieving our goal of proclaiming his gospel in action and word.
Jesus wanted his disciples to 'travel light’ so to be free to live his good news.

He also wanted the disciples to rely entirely on the providence of God and not spend their time collecting and storing things in case of what might be.

Someone once said that “half the confusion in the world comes from not knowing just how little we really need ..”

If that is true and I believe it is .. then the question is .. in this day and age where consumerism is accelerating. Where we have learnt all too well the meaning of words such as manufacturing desire .. .. creating demand (that is, in some ways the ‘creed’ of the advertising industry its not that you need it -- it is not that you started out wanting it -- B, after we have suggested it to you, you now feel you really do want it and feel you cannot live without it .”

So, if its harder than ever for us to know how little we need
(and how little some others actually have) perhaps the problem in our modern culture at the moment is that there is an alarming (and increasing gap) and a blurring between the concepts of "want" and "need ".

And Our Lord clarifies this action... through life......travel light!!


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References:
Fr Paul W. Kelly

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Texts used in this programme are for the purposes of worship and prayer for listeners wherever you are.
Prayers and chants are taken from the English Translation of the Roman Missal, edition three, © 2010, The International Commission on English in the liturgy.
Scriptures are from the New Revised Standard Version: © 1989, by the national council of Churches of Christ, USA. , //adaptations to conform with Catholic liturgical norms, © 2009, by the same.
 [{selected psalms } - ***Psalm verses are (also) taken from “The Psalms: A New Translation” ©1963, The Grail (England), published by Collins.. **]

Prayers of the Faithful are adapted from Robert Borg’s 1993 book “ Together we pray”. Published in Sydney Australia By E.J. Dwyer. (out of print).

{ “Mass In Honour of St. Ralph Sherwin” -published 2011, Composed and Sung by Jeffrey M. Ostrowski
Featuring the….Gloria
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May God bless and keep you.


Fifteenth Sunday, Ordinary Time. Year B
(
Sunday, 15 July 2018)

(EPISODE:
104 )

The Lord be with you.
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Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
Lord Jesus, you are mighty God and Prince of peace. Lord have mercy// You are Son of God and the Son of Mary. Christ have mercy// You are Word made flesh, the splendour of the Father. Lord have mercy.
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
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Memorial Acclamation

When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again.

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Sundays Ordinary VII

Eucharistic Prayer II

Communion side. pwk:
LH
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Go forth, the Mass is ended.

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