Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 11
May Each of Us Respond to God’s Call to Become His Heart, His Hands and His Feet As We Continue Our Pilgrimage through Life, So That Our Efforts May Truly Give Him Honor, Glory and Praise.
Each one of us, by virtue of our Baptism, is a member of the royal priesthood of Jesus Christ, no matter what our state in life may be – married or single, male or female, professional or blue collar, layman or cleric. We are each called to be priests, prophets and kings. In other words, we are each called to be imitators of Christ, in everything that we think, and in everything we say and do.
It is by the life that we live and the example that we set which shows others the pathway to God’s Kingdom. And yet, there are many Christians who find it uncomfortable to be a holy example for others, for there are many who are afraid of ridicule. There are many who shy away from the laughter and mockery which may come their way from those who have chosen to live a life of darkness.
Amos, in our First Reading, was no different than many of us. He was a hard worker, trying to earn a living as a shepherd. And yet, God saw in him a man who feared the Lord. In other words, Amos was a man who truly lived the virtue of reverence for his God. And God chose him to prophesy in His name – to bring His Truth to those who were no longer living a life that was pleasing to God.
In response to this calling, Amos did not hesitate, even knowing that he would be met with ridicule and mockery, possibly even anger and persecution.
And Saint Paul reminds us in our Second Reading that, “[God the Father] chose us in [Christ], before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish…” And “In him we were also chosen…so that we might exist for the praise of his glory…”
We are each called to be prophets. In other words, we are each chosen to live a life which gives glory to our Heavenly Father, through both our words and our deeds.
God has given to each one of us, to both you and me, this most wonderful gift of life which we enjoy. And, by virtue of the fact that you are reading this today, both you and I have prayerfully and freely chosen to say “yes” to the gift of faith which He has also freely given, and to which we have responded from the very depths of our being, for this is what it truly means to be a Christian people.
How we live our faith is how we say “thank You” for the Love which He holds for each of us, a Divine Love which is beyond all human measure of understanding – a Love which fills us, and a Love which guides, strengthens and supports us as we travel together through this vale of tears.
And in this journey through life which we are each making, we are asked to imitate not only the prophet Amos in our First Reading, but also the Apostles in today’s Gospel. We are asked to become the extension of Christ in our daily experiences as we reach out to those around us and to those whom God has placed in our lives.
In our daily mission in life, in our daily pilgrimage to become ever closer to the very Mind and Heart of God Himself, we are each asked to reach out and prophesy – to live God’s Truth, if not by words, then at least by example for others to see, so that others may perceive within us the Eternal Light of God’s Loving Presence.
For Jesus Himself said to His Apostles at the Last Supper, “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” And Jesus also tells us in Matthew’s Gospel, “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” – what a profound statement, when we truly take the time to think about His words.
All we need to do is look to the ultimate example of what love truly means when we look to the Cross of Jesus Christ, where He freely spread His arms out wide – so as to embrace both you and me in His infinite and indescribable Love.
To return this love, to share this love, means to fulfill all that God is asking from each and every one of us – to be the extension of His very Heart and Soul here on Earth. For, in this way, His Divine will is realized through each one of His faithful children.
“Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” As I had written in a recent meditation, for those of us who call ourselves Christian, when we truly live and make these words a part of our daily lives, they become our roadmap to Heaven; they become our pathway to eternal life!
And for us to truly be prophets by our baptismal calling, to fulfill the mission for which we have been chosen in our individual lives, we are each asked to show others this same roadmap, this same pathway – so that others, too, may learn from us the Truth of God’s Love which He holds for each of His children, no matter what our ethnicity, political or religious persuasion may be.
In a world which is filled with secularism, in a culture which seems to go out of its way to embrace greed, selfishness, sexual promiscuity, and a pathway to darkness which can only lead to eternal death, God truly does need our help today, just as He needed Amos’ help some 2,800 years ago, just as our Lord needed the assistance of His Apostles to become His extension in the world of His day.
Our Lord is asking for our assistance today in reaching out to each other. We need to become that merciful and loving Jesus who feels compassion and love, mercy and understanding to all those who need our witness, for there are so many in today’s society, even in our own “backyards”, who have become seduced into walking a very dark path.
Our psalmist today raises his voice in prayerful petition, trusting in God’s goodness, “Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.”
When we look at our own lives, and the faith which we live in our hearts, do we respond with an unquestioning trust as Amos did? Do we find ourselves trusting in the kindness of a God who has given us both the gift of life and this wondrous gift of faith?
Do we find ourselves giving witness to our faith by the way we walk through this life, and by the way we reach out to others, as our Lord instructed His Apostles in today’s Gospel? – questions which are designed to help us reflect upon the faith which fills our hearts and guides us.
For us to truly live our faith in an environment which is oftentimes hostile to Christian virtue, we must first empty from ourselves our own pride, ego and feelings of self-importance, and take upon ourselves a meekness about which Christ Himself spoke, “…learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.”
May each of us respond to God’s call to become His Heart, His hands and His feet as we continue our pilgrimage through life, so that our efforts may truly give Him the honor, glory and praise which has always been rightfully His.
And may the faith we exhibit in our lives, and with the help of God’s grace, help to usher the Kingdom of God into the hearts of His children, where “Love and truth will meet; justice and peace will kiss.”
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Amos answered Amaziah, ‘I am not a prophet, nor do I belong to a company of prophets. I am a herdsman and a dresser of sycamores, but the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’’” (Amos 7:14-15)
- “Show us, LORD, your mercy; grant us your salvation.” (Psalm 85:8)
- “[God the Father] chose us in [Christ], before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish…In him we were also chosen…so that we might exist for the praise of his glory…” (Ephesians 1:4a, 11a, 12a)
- “‘For I know well the plans I have in mind for you’, says the LORD, ‘plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me’, says the LORD, ‘and I will change your lot.’” (Jeremiah 29:11-14a)
- “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
- “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” (Matthew 10:8bc)
- “…learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” (Matthew 11:29bc)
- “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)
- “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6b)
- “Love and truth will meet; justice and peace will kiss. Truth will spring from the earth.” (Psalm 85:11-12a)
Prayer for the Day
“Lord, make me an instrument of Your Love.Anonymous
May I see each circumstance in my life
as an opportunity to grow in Your Mercy.
May I see my environment
as a place to grow in Your Peace.
“When I am tempted to become impatient,
help me to be patient.
“When I am tempted to become unkind,
help me to be kind.
“When I am tempted to become jealous,
help me to be tolerant.
“When I am tempted to become boastful or proud,
help me give You the glory.
“When I am tempted to be rude or selfish,
give me the gift of gentleness.
“When I am tempted to take offense,
help me to let go.
“When I am tempted to become angry with someone,
give me the gift of forgiveness.
“When I am tempted to become resentful,
give me Your power to love.
“All gifts and all charisms come from You.
All will one day come to an end,
with one important exception, the gift of love!
Help me to always love others as You love me. Amen.”