Sunday 15 B: Homily
(The homework for this week is from Mathew 10; Ezekiel 3: 18 & Judges 6 &7)
How many of us here were baptized? How many were confirmed?
At baptism our ears and lips were blessed so that we hear and proclaim the word of God. That implies:
1) Listening to the word of God attentively, when it is being preached
2) Reading the Bible and meditating on it
3) Putting into practice what it tells us to do so
4) Sharing the word with others, beginning with family members, co-workers, fellow students, reading it to them, texting biblical verses to them, calling to remind them to go to Church, etc.
5) Going out wherever or to whomever God sends us
6) Being courageous and sacrificial, like Jesus, prophets and apostles
7) Praying to b fired up by the Holy Spirit
Just as God sent prophet Amos to Israel to preach repentance (Amos 7:12-15), Jesus, in today’s gospel (Mark 6:7-13) sends out all apostles, including us, to preach the kingdom of God and bring about healing.
The second reading (Eph 1:3-14) urges us to share gratuitously with others the gifts we have received gratuitously from God, just as Paul did. The first and most important gift to share is our faith.
Jesus left his glory in heaven and came to save sinners without being paid any salary. He suffered for the mission. Like prophet Amos, Jesus was rejected by his own people; he was mocked, insulted, slapped, spat in the face, scourged, made to carry the cross and he was crucified in order to save sinners, though he was sinless!
In today’s gospel text, from Mark 6:7-13, Jesus commissions his apostles to preach the gospel and heal the sick. Many of the apostles were imprisoned and whipped. Most of the apostles, except John, courageously faced death carrying out their mission. John was miraculously saved from boiling oiling; but he died in exile; Peter was crucified head down; Paul was stoned almost to death (Acts 14:19). When he got up he continued to preach. Eventually he was imprisoned and beheaded! So, our mission is not easy, but we must have courage to do it, like the prophets, Jesus and the apostles did.
It is significant that in today’s gospel text, Jesus sends out all the twelve apostles. It implies that the proclamation of the gospel is not a task of a few members of the Church. All of us are expected to spread the gospel. Jesus is telling us to go out and look for people and not wait for them to come to us.
Jesus gives us power over: The evil of injustice, abuses, ignorance, and irreligiosity. Jesus sends us to confront them. And the task is urgent. No time to spend on material comfort. We need to rely on God, represented by the staff which Moses used to make a way through the Red Sea, the Jordan River and to get water from the rock. (Ex 4:2; 14:16; 17:5). God’s messengers must not give the impression that they are working for their own economic advantage.
Jesus hints on the fact that in some cases the messengers will not be welcome. They will encounter hostility. Let them just move on. For an apostle has to respect people’s freedom. Jesus himself suffered persecution to the point of giving us his own body and blood for our salvation.
Let us obey God and carry out the mission so that salvation may be realized in every person. We should not make excuses like Jeremiah (1:1-5) or Gedeon (Judges 6-7). The one sending us out is our Creator who knows why He created us and He is the one who has our destiny in His hands. God simply waits for our obedience to him to perform miracles. Confer Naaman the Syrian General wo was healed of leprosy by bathing seven times in the Jordan River, just because prophet Elisha had told him to do so. Remember the boy David who killed Goliath with a smooth stone, by the power of God.
Just as God sent the prophet Amos to preach repentance to ancient Israel and St. Paul to preach the Good News of salvation to the Gentiles, so Jesus sends forth his followers to proclaim the Good News of God’s Kingdom and to bring healing to those who need it most.
We have a liberating mission, helping to free people from the demons of nicotine, alcohol, drugs, gambling, pornography, promiscuous sex, hatred, jealousy, racial prejudice and consumerism. We need the help of Jesus to liberate us and others from these things. That is why we have to depend very much on prayer.
Parents have a special mission from God to educate their children in the faith and to be exemplary to them. This mission is not to be left to others. Parents have an obligation to learn the faith and to pass it on to their children. God, in Deuteronomy 6:5-7 says: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Never forget these commands that I am giving you today. Teach them to your children. Repeat them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working.” Jesus gives us His body and blood to strengthen us for the mission. May He bless us and help us to succeed.