Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

The Lord's command to the apostles to preach the kingdom of God is not a fairy tale or even a parable, is something real, that command was real for them, and it is real for us today, woe to me if I do not preach the gospel![1]. Speaking to one another, so began two thousand years ago our Catholic faith came this way faith reached us. Today, twenty centuries later, with some sadness, I see that we transmit our faith with laziness and even shame, when the reality is that we should be deeply proud to profess our beautiful Catholic faith.

So, each one is called to share experiences, feelings, advices, etc. with others. This isn’t just the work of the Pope or priests and sisters and religious brothers. No, it is the work of all the baptized. It was the work of Amos, the prophet about whom we just heard in the first reading[2].

Amos was a normal, everyday working man. He lived just south of the border between the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The people there were soft selling their faith and Amos told them to change their lives and be committed to the Lord, then the priest Amaziah told Amos to stop confronting the people and go back to Judah and Amos responded using a phrase that we have to memorize perfectly and use in our daily lives: I cannot refuse to proclaim the Lord.

My brother, my sister we have to proclaim the word, in season and out of season as St. Paul says[3]; we have to proclaim the truth we experience within us whether it is a time others want to hear it or not. While He was still with us on earth, before his passion, death and resurrection, Jesus sent his disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven. These disciples were ordinary, everyday men entrusted with an extraordinary task. Jesus told them that the mission was urgent. They shouldn’t be bogged down with impediments of luggage (By the way the Latin word for luggage is in fact impedimentum), but they should wear sandals because they had a lot of ground to cover. They needed to proclaim to all. Some would listen, and others would reject them, but the message had to be proclaimed to as many people as possible.

It is the same for all of us: we need to bring the message, the experience, and the very presence of Jesus Christ to the world. Some will listen to you some not, anyway proclaim the message, anyway give testimony, anyway show to all those around you why you are so happy and so proud of your Catholic faith.

Few days ago one of the most one of the bravest men of this blessed country, Archbishop Charles Chaput said something that I would like to share with you this evening [morning]: «We live in a time that calls for sentinels and public witness. Every Christian in every era faces the same task. But you and I are responsible for this moment. Today. Now. We need to “speak out,” not only for religious liberty and the ideals of the nation we love, but for the sacredness of life and the dignity of the human person – in other words, for the truth of what it means to be made in the image and likeness of God.

We need to be witnesses of that truth not only in word, but also in deed. In the end, we’re missionaries of Jesus Christ, or we’re nothing at all. And we can’t share with others what we don’t live faithfully and joyfully ourselves.

When we leave this Mass today, we need to render unto Caesar those things that bear his image. But we need to render ourselves unto God — generously, zealously, holding nothing back. To the extent we let God transform us into his own image; we will – by the example of our lives – fulfill our duty as citizens of the United States, but much more importantly, as disciples of Jesus Christ»[4].

And yes, there will be people who will reject the message and even criticize you; you may indeed have to move on and proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ to others. Be patient. Joy, happiness and the Presence of the Lord are contagious, but sometimes it takes time for the cure to Life to overwhelm a person.

We pray today for the courage to hold on tight and the wisdom to find ways to hold out our hands for others to join us. For the ride, the journey with Christ, is wonderful ■

[1] 1 Cor 9:16
[2] Sunday 15th July, 2012, 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Readings: 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 [St Bonaventure]
[3] 2 Tim 4:2
[4] Archbishop Charles Chaput, homily closing the Fortnight for Freedom, 4 July 2012.

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