Here is my homily for this weekend. God bless all.
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B
Amos 7: 12-15; Eph 1: 3-24; Mk 6: 7-13
July 14/15, 2018
In the Old Testament, once in a great while, God would chose some one specific person and enter into a special relationship with him or her. He would have a special task for them to accomplish. People like Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah and others. Just a few select people, not many. Amos was one of them. Did you catch that sentence in the first reading where Amos says, “The Lord took me from following the flock.”? (Amos 7: 15) Anytime in the Old Testament you read that line, “he took me from following the flock” it is a code phrase that means God took someone and turned him inside out, upside down, and completely reoriented his life, turned him around and made him a new person, changing him to the core, and giving him a new mission for life.
You see, in the Old Testament, there was no baptism. To be chosen was a special gift for the few. But when God sent his Son Jesus into the world, what did Jesus say? He told his disciples to go into the whole world and baptize everyone. Everyone was now chosen, redeemed, and destined for a special relationship with God. All were to be sealed by the Holy Spirit. Jesus told us that his Father wanted to do to everyone what he once did for a select few. What he had once done for a small nation, he now would do for the entire world, and we were to go out and tell the world about this. Everyone was to be baptized. Everyone was to to be “taken from following the flock” and to be turned upside down, inside out, and made a new person, and then tell others what God did for them. Everyone, you and me included, were to be reborn, re-made into God’s children, and all of us were to be given a special calling in life.
St. Paul gives us almost a litany today, if we listen closely to the second reading, litany describing who we have become in Jesus Christ through our baptism.
In his love, you were destined for adoption
In him, you have been redeemed by his blood
In him, you were chosen for his purpose, not our own
In him, you were sealed by the Holy Spirit
Destined, redeemed, chosen, and sealed – all of us who are baptized!
If you have been baptized, you have been taken from “following the flock” and have become a new person. What you once were no longer exists. You are no longer your own person, you belong to God. You are his now. Maybe you were your own person before baptism, but now you are a new creature, no longer merely human, but a child of God. Each of us must tell the world what God has done for us.
Do not say, “I’ve got a flock to follow.” Do not say, “I’ve got other work to do, a career to develop, a business to tend, problems to solve first, bill that need paying, so I will just practice my faith on Sunday mornings and live the rest of my life the other days.” Say, rather, “God, I am yours. Do with me as you will.”
Yes, we all have jobs to do, problems to solve, and things to care for an about. We all have obligations we must meet, but we must never forget that we have been destined, redeemed, chosen, and sealed by God himself through our baptisms, and we must tell the world what has happened to our lives.
The Christian life is a difficult life. That cannot be denied. It is not just about trying to be a good person or just doing our best. It is about being someone recreated by God’s grace, his grace which enables us to do great things in accord with his will. We can do extraordinary things because of God’s grace. Even heroic things. It is difficult to be a Christian just as it was difficult to be a prophet in the time of Amos. We are always tempted to just “follow the flock.” Difficult as it may be, anyone who has live the Christian life well will always say, it is a life filled with joy.
You have been chosen, redeemed, and sealed. Embrace the Christian way of life. Tell others what God has done for you and wants to do for them, indeed, the whole world.