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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 15, 2012
Amos 7:12-15; Psalm 85; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13

          Amos shows us that prophets are seldom accepted by those in authority. Amaziah, the priest, tells Amos that he is not wanted; therefore the king of Bethel sends him away. Amos remains faithful to proclaiming the word of God to Israel despite the confronting opposition he faces. He shakes off the dust from his feet and moves on. These are similar to the instructions Jesus gives his disciples in Mark's Gospel. The message proclaimed by the disciples is included in Ephesians, which is known as God's plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. Every spiritual blessing in the heavens is designed for each person in particular as God lavishes grace upon us.
          The instructions Jesus gives to his disciples contain practical advice. They are to go out two-by-two for safety purposes as the road is filled with bandits. They are to take no food, money, or a bag to collect items, but only a walking stick so they fully rely upon the hospitality of strangers. Wearing sandals and having only one tunic makes their poverty credible. They rely upon the goodness of others who have little or nothing to give, but room and shelter. They are to cheerfully reside in their host's house and not utter a negative word about their living conditions. They are to proclaim peace. If their host village does not welcome them, they are not to complain but are to be at ease about moving forward without anger. The work of the Gospel is more important than petty physical inconveniences.

          Most importantly, Jesus is revealing his style of living to his friends. He is attracting people to his family of faith and he is doing so in a manner that is both credible and enticing. He shows that he is different from other preachers in that he is not seeking human power or glory. He is not interested in making them serve his needs. He is showing that he is truly about God's message of salvation - not winning converts or positioning himself strategically. He is different from religious leaders that he points out to be hypocrites that speak demanding words and don't follow their own teachings.

          Jesus makes us look at him. We study his body language and gestures. It is the small gestures that gives us clues about whether we can trust someone. He makes us believe in his warm tone of voice or a kindly facial expression. We notice the way he smiles or affirms another person when he heals them. These set of instructions are designed for us to notice the type of person he is. A person with good conduct, lofty motives, and proper behavior will be accepted more easily than one who disregards the boundaries of hospitality.
          We read these instructions year after year. As we hear them, they can be energizing. They are meant for us as much as they are for his disciples. We have to deal with these questions: "How well am I responding to his invitation? Is my ministry more effective this year than it has been in the past? Have I upped the ante a little higher because I my friendship with him is more secure? To what way of life am I called as a disciple of Jesus?" It is folly for us to read this passage as an historical event, but one to which we are always called to greater commitment. Each time we hear this, we have changed in subtle ways. May we all be open to the greater service Christ asks of us.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: Isaiah tells the people that the Lord is not interested in sacrifices and rituals. Rather, the Lord wants justice restored, wrongs redressed, care for the orphan and widow, and the pursuit of good and noble actions. The Lord encourages Isaiah to hold firm when we meets the leader of Aram. He is to tell them that Ephraim will be crushed as a nation. He cries "Woe to Assyria" because they are an impious nation that plunders from those so they can fatten themselves. The way of the just, even in war, is smooth. Israel is to walk in the way of the Lord so their good example can be seen by every nation on earth. When Hezekiah was ill, Isaiah visited him and asked him to put his hour is order. The Lord told Isaiah to prepare a poultice for him and in three days he will be healed. ~ In Micah, woe is destined for those who plan iniquity. Destruction shall come to their small-minded plots.

Gospel: Jesus ups the ante with his Apostles. He tells them that his mission is serious business. He did not come to bring warm fuzzy feelings to the earth, but that his mission has serious consequences that will separate blood relatives from one another. Jesus laments the towns that failed to bring him hospitality or to repent from their sins. The judgment against them will be woefully harsh. Jesus then praises the simple and the childlike because they are able to discern God's will among them. God reveals his plans through his Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal. He asks people to come to him to learn gentleness and humility and to find rest for their souls. ~ Jesus then passes through a grain field with his disciples and he begins to pick heads of grain to eat. The Pharisees object to his flaunting of the dietary restrictions but Jesus reminds them sacrifice is not required or expected, only mercy. As the Pharisees plot against him, he heals many people and casts out demons. The suffering servant passages from Isaiah's scripture is remembered.

Saints of the Week

July 15: Bonaventure, bishop and Doctor (1221-1273), was given his name by Francis of Assisi to mean "Good Fortune" after he was cured of serious childhood illnesses. He joined the Franciscans at age 20 and studied at the University of Paris. Aquinas became his good friend. Bonaventure was appointed minister general of the Franciscans and was made a cardinal. He participated in the ecumenical council at Lyons to reunite the Greek and Latin rites. Aquinas died on the way to the council.

July 16: Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the patronal feast of the Carmelites. The day commemorates the day Simon Stock was given a brown scapular by Mary in 1251. In the 12th century, Western hermits settled on Mount Carmel overlooking the plain of Galilee just as Elijah did. These hermits built a chapel to Mary in the 13th century and began a life of solitary prayer.

July 18: Camillus de Lellis (1550-1614), began his youthful life as a soldier where he squandered away his father's inheritance through gambling. He was cared for by Capuchins, but was unable to join them because of a leg ailment. He cared for the sick in hospitals that were deplorable. He founded an order that would care for the sick and dying and for soldiers injured in combat.

July 20: Apollinaris, bishop and martyr (1st century) was chosen directly by Peter to take care of souls in Ravenna. He lived through the two emperors whose administrations exiled and tortured him, though he was faithful to his evangelizing work to his death.

July 21: Lawrence of Brindisi, priest and doctor (1559-1619) was a Capuchin Franciscan who was proficient in many languages and well-versed in the Bible. He was selected by the pope to work for the conversion of the Jews and to fight the spread of Protestantism. He held many positions in the top administration of the Franciscans.

This Week in Jesuit History

·         Jul 15, 1570. At Avila, St Teresa had a vision of Blessed Ignatius de Azevedo and his companions ascending to heaven. This occurred at the very time of their martyrdom.
·         Jul 16, 1766. The death of Giuseppe Castiglione, painter and missionary to China. They paid him a tribute and gave him a state funeral in Peking (Beijing).
·         Jul 17, 1581. Edmund Campion was arrested in England.
·         Jul 18, 1973. The death of Fr. Eugene P Murphy. Under his direction the Sacred Heart Hour, which was introduced by Saint Louis University in 1939 on its radio station [WEW], became a nationwide favorite.
·         Jul 19, 1767. At Naples, Prime Minister Tannic, deprived the Jesuits of the spiritual care of the prisoners, a ministry that they had nobly discharged for 158 years.
·         Jul 20, 1944. An abortive plot against Adolf Hitler by Claus von Stauffenberg and his allies resulted in the arrest of Fr. Alfred Delp.
·         Jul 21, 1773. In the Quirinal Palace, Rome, the Brief for the suppression of the Society was signed by Clement XIV.


  1. Jesus modelled the way of life that we are to embrace if we are his disciples; the standard is high and we fail but God's love and grace are there to help us try again. Thanks be to God for God's love and grace.

    1. I believe God doesn't see our failings, but our strivings. God's grace is all we need.

    2. Thank you for that consolation that God sees our strivings and not our failings. God bless.