Homily for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
There is always a sense of excitement when someone is chosen for something special. When we were kids and wanted to play ball, soccer, or any other type of game, we chose teams. The first ones picked were usually considered the ‘prized’ players that with their help could defeat the opposite team. But if you were the one chosen last or being left out would not feel that special. When the teams were formed, each group would work together to defeat the opposing team. Nothing has changed. All we have to do is to look at baseball or hockey teams to see that.
And the same goes in school, college, university and the workforce…group projects where people are placed together to accomplish a common goal. Each one having a part but achieving the same end results. As adults, we are excited when we are chosen for a promotion at work or chosen to oversee a special event or project that others may not be comfortable with. We like to be chosen. Period. However, in our Spiritual realms or faith traditions, we are all chosen by God to achieve a common goal. No one is last nor left out. We see this int our Scriptures for today. In the First Reading, Amos was a simple shepherd and field worker. God had chosen him to be a prophet. Amos knew that being a prophet was a thankless job. Yet Amos began to preach with fire and zeal what God had instructed: That God’s people were not living up to the commandments, that they worshipped idols, and neglected the poor. For God, that was unacceptable.
In the Second Reading from Ephesians, Paul makes it clear, as, with Amos, it is not just special individuals who are chosen, but that God has chosen each of us “before the foundation of the world.” Think about that for a moment… “before the foundation of the world,” God knew who we were and had a purpose for each of us!
In the Gospel, Jesus instructs the Disciples, the team of 12, he had chosen. Their mission was to preach about God’s love, to disarm hatred and to cure the sick. They were to reach out to the needy, the forgotten and the abandoned. This group of 12, made up of fishermen, tax collector, traitor, and so on… this motley crew which had no formal pastoral training, no degrees, was told to go and share the Good New of God’s unconditional love!
The very thing that is asked of us! This is not a reminder for me as an ordained or religious… it is asked of all of us… the people of God. Countless times in this parish, I have witnessed first hand how you feed the poor with your generosity, clothe the naked with donations, how you work with those ‘not chosen first to be on any team.’ Look how parent and many times grandparents are chosen to lead families using their gifts, intuition, common sense and faith. In every family there are challenges to be more open, forgiving, accepting to countless situations… very little is ‘black and white’ anymore. There is “a lot of grey areas, or ‘ambiguity’ in our lives today… therein lies our call to bring that Good News.
My dear friends, Jesus continues to choose us and to go and be his presence in a tired world reeling from all kinds of calamities, disease, wars and hatred to name but a few. However, we have been chosen to go and bear witness to the love of God… to remind one another of the sacredness that resides in each of us and the sacredness of our planet.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us, instead of worrying about acquiring more ‘stuff’ such as “food, money in our belts and second tunic…” to help us in our call, we need only to trust in God who will provide everything we need to complete what is asked of each one of us. WE are all called… we are sent… we have everything we need… so, let’s do it! Amen.