Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Am 7:12-15; Ps 85; Eph 1:3-14; Mk 6:3-13 God lavished on us all wisdom and insight… to be put into effect when the time is ripe.
The readings in today’s liturgy put us in touch with a common scriptural theme: “chosen.” Just this simple word can evoke meaningful moments in everyone’s life. Think back on your childhood, when perhaps you waited with “baited breath,” hoping to be the one chosen to play on a top sports team, or maybe… to be chosen as a cheerleader. Then, as time went on, to be “chosen” could have had a deeper impact on you. You may have been chosen to get a lead part in a play, been elected class officer, invited to the prom, etc. I’m sure most would agree, that to be the one “chosen,” often generates positive energy within. However, in the first reading today, Amos didn’t wait with anticipation, to be “chosen” by God, and become a prophet to Israel. He was called to leave his orchard and its serenity - to go north - and to confront the Israelites with the truth about their unjust and violent ways. For Amos, to be a prophet was not his choice…vice-versa, the choice was God’s. In Mark’s gospel, we meet the twelve apostles, who were “chosen” by Jesus, to go out and minister to the people. We may call these men, “discipleship prophets.” Their style was very different from that of Amos, and others who preceded them. At their moment in history, God’s passion was for conversion among the people, and this called for a direct extension of Jesus’ ministry. The Twelve preached repentance, they drove out demons, anointed the sick with oil and healed many. Deeply influenced by Jesus, the apostles were changed and “chosen “to be agents of God. The Christian message was spread, and the faith took root! How did the Hebrew Scripture farmer and the Christian Scripture fishermen and tax-collectors impact their flocks so profoundly? Paul’s letter to the Ephesians provides the answer. He reminded his contemporaries and us, that “God lavished on us all wisdom and insight…to be put into effect when the time is ripe.” Indeed, today’s scripture passages testify to the truth of Paul’s words. Amos and the apostles cultivated gifts of wisdom and insight; they answered their call when the time was ripe, and their effects were unimaginably positive. We too, like these ministers, were created by God and “chosen” to discern the prophetic voices of our times, to teach and preach, and to be disciples of this 21st century. Every man and woman is given the gifts of the Spirit necessary “to accomplish all things according to the intention of God’s will.” Let’s join together now, in the spirit of this Sunday’s liturgy, and thank God for all we’ve been given. Then individually, do pray for the deepening of wisdom and insight within, so you may always be ready to say -“Yes” - to God’s evolving call. Maybe, today is the day when your “time is ripe!” Sister Shirley Jeffcott, O.P.