15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)


15th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (B) Mark 6: 7-13

July 15, 2018

“Jesus summoned the twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits”.

Before getting something done, no matter how important or simple the task might be, a person designs a plan and makes sure his or her job is going to be accomplished in the best way possible. Let´s say, for example, a teacher or a student prepares the lesson, an attorney investigates his client´s case, a coach arranges the game´s strategies. When a president goes to another country to meet his o her colleague, he sends his secretary of state and ambassador to set up ahead of time the business agenda to be discussed. But that person also appoints a follow up committee to continue the task.

Jesus sent his twelve apostles on journey to prepare his way and to continue announcing his Good News: “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 for the journey but a walking stick, no food, no sack, no money in their belts (…) They went off and preached repentance. The twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.”

In today´s first reading we hear that prophet Amos, a normal, everyday working man found so much opposition in his mission. He was told by the priest Amaziah to stop confronting the people and to go back to his native Judah: “Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah! There earn your bread by prophesying, but never again prophesy in Bethel, for it is the King´s sanctuary and a royal temple.” Jesus warned his disciples of opposition too: “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.”

In his Letter to the Ephesians Saint Paul shows us the plan God had for us, “He has made known to us by the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.” Christ is the head of the Church, we the members of his body should continue working in his plan of salvation.

When we are sent to proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven, we know some would listen to us, and some others would reject us, but the message needs to be proclaimed to as many people as possible. Some people tell me, especially mothers, that their adult children do not listen to them. I answer, do not give up; do not force them, but do not stop praying for them either and be patient. God makes the rest. The joy to live the Gospel is contagious. So preach the Gospel with your own life.

In the Gospel we hear that Jesus preaches repentance, drives out unclean spirits, and cures many people from their illnesses. Because Jesus´ disciples share his Spirit and are loved by the Father, they also share Christ´s same power to preach repentance, to expel demons, and to heal the sick. Jesus sends his disciples and commissions them to carry forward his mission, even if they are not too well prepared. This makes us aware of our lack of adequacy, but it also reminds us of our dignity as prophets and apostles. Jesus depends not only on the Twelve, but also on each of us to bring about his Kingdom on earth.

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