Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today we hear in the gospel about the life of the apostles. Four were fishermen and one was a hated tax collector, they were ordinary people, and the Word of God worked through them[1] and they were the pillars of the Catholic Church.

We have to be very conscious that God uses each one of us to make His Presence real for others: He uses us, ordinary people, to do the extraordinary.

We, my brothers and sisters, are called to be saints. Not plastic, unreal statues, but real, true saints. We are to be set aside for the Lord. We are called to holiness, and holiness is not a matter of pietistic expressions. We are not called to holiness so we can pose for a plastic statue.

We are called to holiness so we can respond to that innermost groaning of the world longing for meaning, longing for its Savior, longing for Christ. We are called to holiness so our children, our friends, the people we work with, and even total strangers, can experience the wonder, the power and the beauty of Jesus Christ.

God did this with Amos as we heard in today’s first reading, and with the apostles and with His saints. He can and will do this with us. God makes us, the ordinary, extraordinary. God wants us just the way we are. The perfect offering is that of giving ourselves to him –imperfections, shame, misgivings, and all- with unwavering confidence in his compassion and mercy[2].

Today, at the presentation of the gifts let us offer to the Lord everything in our life that cries out to be filled with His presence. Everything that is going wrong. All troubles, our worries, our weakness, our regrets. All our confusion, our frustration, our concerns, our problems and wounds. All our limitations, our doubts, our afflictions, our inability, our sorrows, our emptiness, our temptations, our broken relationships, our fears, our suffering, our helplessness –all the trying and impossible circumstances of our life.

These we unite to the gifts of bread and wine brought up to the altar so that Christ will take every bit of our longing and our need and turn it into himself.

In other words: let us draw near and give the Divine Pauper a little of our bread and wine, that he may give them back to us invested with his presence, in a communion of life with ours ■

[1] Sunday 12th July, 2009, 15TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME. Amos 7:12-15. Lord, show us your mercy and love, and grant us your salvation—Ps 84(85):9-14. Ephesians 1:3-14. Mark 6:7-13.
[2] P.J Cameron, O.P., How to go to mass: The preparation of the gifts, Magnificat’s editorial July 2009.
Ilustration: Raffaello Sanzio, Heads and hands of the Apostles, Black chalk, 490 x 360 mm, Ashmolean Museum (Oxford).

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris