Fifteenth Sunday: Called, Chosen and Sent

The theme for today’s reading can be perceived from our second reading; Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, “In him we were claimed as God’s own chosen from the beginning under the predetermined plan of the one who guides all things as he decides by his own will; chosen to be for his greater glory, the people who put their hopes in Christ before he came.

Jul 10, 2021

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Amos 7:12-15;
Ephesians 1:3-14; Gospel: Mark 6:7-13

The theme for today’s reading can be perceived from our second reading; Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, “In him we were claimed as God’s own chosen from the beginning under the predetermined plan of the one who guides all things as he decides by his own will; chosen to be for his greater glory, the people who put their hopes in Christ before he came.

What is Paul saying to us today?
We are called, we have been chosen and we are being sent out for the greater Glory of our God and Father. We are called by God, by name, to intimacy, to new life. However, as we listen to the voice of Prophet Amos in our first reading, “I was no prophet, nor have I belonged to a company of prophets; I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores. The Lord took me from following the flock, and said to me, Go, prophesy to my people Israel”. We tend to push aside or ignore this call due to the feeling of being limited, incompetent and, unworthy, at times.

In addition, far too often we have no sense of being called or a sense that God might be asking something of us. In truth, God calls each one of us and invites us to follow Him and to proclaim His message to others. We can live our whole lives without recognising or responding to this call. We can live all our lives without recognising that we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit by virtue of our baptism and the anointing at our Sacrament of Confirmation. Our Scriptures and our Church keep telling us these realities ‘but, so often, they go over our heads and we do not understand or choose not to understand.

Yes, my dear people’, like me years ago, most of us have no sense of being called. It was my brother who challenged me and brought me out of my comfort zones. We are very much like this Prophet Amos, going about our own business and doing what we have to do to earn our living and get along in life. We build a niche around us to contain us and our dreams, living in our comfort zones.

Today we hear how God chooses people for particular missions within the Church and how God chooses all of us who believe to give witness to Him.

God’s initiative to invite us on this journey to discipleship is not because we merit the call. It is purely God’s generosity that we are included in the invitation.

Today, you and I, while reflecting on our lives as Christians; are called, chosen and sent. We must reflect once again on our baptismal calling to be priest, prophet and king. By virtue of our baptism, each of us is called to take up, to embrace these roles or, rather, functions, to be priest, prophet and king. We are called to be priests to practice the rituals of worshipping God and to intercede for one another.

We are called to be kings to take leadership in worshipping of God whilst safeguarding, defending and remaining steadfast in our faith. We are called to be prophets because the Word of God must be pondered, lived and proclaimed by us in our everyday living.

The Gospel of Mark today tells us about the role of the twelve. They are called. They are chosen. They are sent out on mission. The twelve apostles that Jesus had chosen were ordinary men, ordinary men who had been engaged in their own profession. Jesus called them despite their imperfections because he saw a potential in them while they themselves were probably looking for greater meaning in life.

A further reading of the Gospel challenges us to go against the currents of the world. If our materialistic society preaches that possessions are necessary for security and guaranteeing one’s future, the Christian way of life points to something altogether different – a radical dependence on God. Radical dependence means freedom from enslavement to sin, material possessions, false securities, self-sufficiency and pride while relying only on the grace of God; “my grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor 12:9).

In addition, the conditions imposed by Jesus on travelling lightly stresses the importance of always being on the move. We are to steer away from the temptation of growing roots, hanging on to what we possess, holding onto relationships we have established, keeping a firm hold on positions we have acquired. It was during one of my deepest, most troubling moments of discerning to say my “yes” in respond to God’s call that I heard a sharp, clear and distinct voice within me, “Why put yourself in trouble — let go and let God, just say YES and follow me. My grace is sufficient for you.” And here I stand before you, as a priest, today.

Today we are invited, each one of us, yet again, to recognise our own calling and to seek to know what God asks of us in order to spread the Kingdom. Let us open our hearts and our minds in faith with hope and trust for our God and Father has not finished with us. A good hymn to stir in us to respond to God’s call is, “The Summons.” ––Fr David Arulnatham is the parish priest of the Church of St Jude, Rawang

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