Thoughts on the Readings for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B) 2015

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/071215.cfm 

In our Gospel this Sunday we are told that Jesus summoned the twelve and sent them out “two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits.”  He also told them they “were to take nothing for the journey, but a walking stick --- no food, no sack, no money in their belts.    They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic………………  So they went off and preached repentance.  The twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.”    

If you stop and think about it, there is some sense to be made of Jesus’ sending the twelve on a “test run.”   It would have been important that they had some experience of preaching, teaching and healing, before Jesus’ death, so that after His death this task would not seem so intimidating to them.  Having done it once, they could do it again.   Why, though, would Jesus tell them to take nothing for the journey?   I suspect the reason was that Jesus wanted them to know that any success they had was God’s doing and not their own.   By going out without any “provisions” they were forced to rely solely and completely on God.  Thus they would know that it was God’s grace and not their efforts that brought any success to their mission.   

Our first reading this Sunday shares the theme of the Gospel.  Amos has been called by God to be a prophet.   Amos was clear that this was not his choice. “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.’”  

Our second reading this Sunday is from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. In the section we read today Paul praises God ”who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Have you ever felt God calling you to do something or to go somewhere?  How did you respond? 
  2. When have you had to rely on God’s grace and not your own efforts? 
  3. How has God blessed you in your life? 
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