Sunday, 11 July 2021 : Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday as we listened to the words of the Scripture we are all reminded that each and every one of us as Christians have been entrusted with the mission to reach out to the world, to the people we have been sent to, as missionaries and witnesses of our faith to the other people who have not yet heard the truth or known the Lord.

In our first reading today, we heard the tale of the prophet Amos, who was sent to the northern kingdom of Israel, composed of most of ten tribes out of the twelve tribes of Israel, who have rebelled against the house of David. While initially the first king of Israel, Jeroboam had been faithful to God, the fears of having the people of the northern kingdom going to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices as required by the Law, led to the king instating a rival worship practice and centre at Bethel in the northern kingdom.

This was the same Bethel that the prophet Amos came to as mentioned in our first reading today, as king Amaziah who ruled Israel a few generations after Jeroboam, told Amos to go off back into the land of Judah. Amaziah was likely angered by the works which Amos did in the land of Israel, and in Bethel no less, calling on the people to return to Lord and be reconciled with Him, abandoning their sinful and wicked ways. This included the pagan and unlawful worship carried out at Bethel among others.

Yet, Amos persisted and told the king that it was God Who called on him from his humble origin and background, from his ordinary life to be the shepherd of the people of God, Israel. Amos answered the Lord’s call and dedicated himself wholeheartedly to the mission that has been entrusted to him by the Lord. He encountered challenges and obstacles from those who refused to listen to him or believe in the Lord, but he worked hard nonetheless for the greater glory of God.

In our Gospel passage today, then we heard the Lord sending out His disciples to go before Him to many places, and to minister to the people, two by two, that they might help and cure the people of their sickness, and speak of the truth of God which He has revealed to them. He sent them out to the people to bring the Good News of God’s salvation to all, and those disciples had been entrusted with the care of the various peoples that God has called to be His own. They were tasked to reach out to the separated and lost sons and daughters of mankind, their own brothers and sisters, that more and more may come to know of the Lord and His truth.

They were told not to carry more than the barest essentials, and to wear very simple and minimal dressing as is appropriate and yet unassuming in nature. They were also told to stay in whichever place that accommodated and welcomed them in, and not to stay in the places where they were not welcome to stay or where the people rejected them. Through all of these, the Lord told His disciples to put their trust in Him and not in their own power, devices and strength.

He also told them plainly of the challenges and trials that they would face, all the things that they would have to endure to walk down the path that He has shown them. It would not be easy for one to become a faithful and committed Christian, as a dedicated disciple and servant of the Lord. There would be plenty of obstacles that they all had to overcome, and this is also therefore a reminder to each and every one of us. We shall also face moments when we can even question our faith and commitment to God, due to all the sorrows and sufferings we have to endure.

But the Lord reassured each and every one of us, that we are never alone, and He is always with us, by our side. And ours is a most important mission which the Lord Himself has entrusted to us, that is to be the bearers of the Good News of salvation and the Light of truth to many people who have not yet heard of them or seen the light of God’s truth. This is what our Christian faith is all about, that we do not just keep this faith and truth to ourselves, but rather, we are all required to share this faith and truth with others.

That is why today we heard all of these reminders from the passages of the Scriptures, as reminders for us that each and every one of us as Christians have that very important role to play and the obligation to reveal the truth of Christ to all the people, without exception. We have to entrust ourselves in the Lord and follow Him wholeheartedly in the mission which He has entrusted to each and every one of us in turn. We have to embark on this missionary journey, responding to the call which the Lord has made upon us.

We have been so blessed by God and received the bountiful grace of salvation through Christ, which we have heard in our second reading today, from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians, as St. Paul told the faithful there of the wonderful grace that they have received from the Lord, and revealing to all of them, the desire that the Lord has in saving all mankind, be it Jews or non-Jews alike, and it is because of this that St. Paul himself and the other Apostles and missionaries of the faith had laboured hard, to spread the Good News and truth of God to all the people of all the nations.

St. Paul reiterated the Lord’s call to all of us, that each and every one of us have that responsibility and duty to be the faithful witnesses of our faith in our respective communities, reaching out to all those who are in need of guidance and truth so that by our actions and faithful witness to the truth of Christ, and by our exemplary life and commitment to God, we may be inspiration for many others that they may also follow our good examples and faith, and come to believe in the Lord as well.

Let us all therefore do our very best, and strive to be faithful to God and commit ourselves to the mission which He has entrusted us all, and be faithful and good in each and every moments of our lives that walking in the footsteps of the prophet Amos and the Apostles, we may always glorify the Lord by our lives and works, at all times. May the Lord be with us always, and may He strengthen us all with the courage and resolve to follow Him and dedicate ourselves to His cause. May God bless our good works and endeavours, now and always. Amen.