15th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B by Fr. Isaac A. Mensah

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15th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B by Fr. Isaac A. Mensah

1st Reading Amos 7:12-15
Responsorial Psalm Psalms 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
2nd Reading Ephesians 1:3-14 or Ephesians 1:3-10
Gospel Mark 6:7-13

Theme: The Divine Mandate


Last week we had the opportunity to reflect on our calling and the challenges that come with it. We learned from last week that there are three challenges that everyone encounters in the line of duty: the first challenge may come from those he or she has been sent to, the second challenge may come from his or her weaknesses and the third from his/her closed-associates such as family, friends and even kindred. Our readings of today further last week’s discourse by reiterating the fact that God’s choice of us isn’t a product of chance, but a deliberate one. The Church, through these readings is offering us an excellent opportunity to reflect on God’s choice of us and how we are fulfilling this purpose.

Explanation of the Text

Our first reading recounts the opposition that the Prophet Amos met when he was called to prophesy in the north. At the time of Amos the whole Prophetic ministry seems to have been compromised with some Prophets approaching the ministry as a very lucrative enterprise. The presence of Amos, who is known to be a southerner plying his trade in the north made those “Prophets” who were indigenes of the place uncomfortable and thus that brute confrontation from them. It was like Amos has come to spoil their business.

Amos’ reply to his critics shows that God’s choice of him wasn’t a product of chance, but a deliberate one. He didn’t learn the work nor he came from a family of Prophets. He attributed his calling to divine Providence. According to the Prophet he has a divine mandate to accomplish and therefore he is not perturbed.

In our second reading, Paul not only reminds us that God chose us in Christ. He equally reminds us of the reason He chose us: “To be holy, and spotless, and to live through love in his presence…. that we should become his adopted sons” This is the remote purpose of God’s choice of each one of us. For Paul then the call to holiness is the basis of all vocations. We all have been called fundamentally to live a life of holiness; one that is blameless irrespective of our status in life.

In our Gospel reading we hear of the maiden missionary works of the disciples of Jesus. What is so unique about this first missionary activities of the disciples of Jesus is the specific and detailed instructions from Jesus. They were to travel in pairs without resources or provisions. They were to perform a sign against those who reject them and their message and lastly they were to preach repentance heal, anoint and cast out demons. A cursory look at this instruction reveals two things: the vulnerability and the authority of the disciples.

The sending of them in pairs cf (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12), relying on the generosity of others and God show their vulnerability, yet they carry a divine mandate to heal, anoint, preach and cast out demons. The message is simple, God knows us through and through and despite our inadequacies and vulnerabilities, He has still given us the mandate to work. What we need to do now is ask ourselves these pertinent questions: “What is God’s purpose for choosing me as his disciples? Am I fulfilling this purpose?”



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