Readings of The Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
CALLED TO BE EXTRAORDINARY
Mother Teresa challenged us to do ordinary things with extraordinary love. Basketball coach Jim Valvano said, “Every single day, in every walk of life, ordinary people do extraordinary things.” Sometimes we see extraordinary vocations, such as the child prodigy musician. But usually those whom God chooses to call are reluctant participants who either run from the call or ignore it. Amos tells Amaziah “I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.” He looked after sheep and punched holes in fruit for a living! Now he was being called to prophesy. In Mark’s Gospel the apostles are sent out two by two to begin their ministry. Paul takes it further, telling the Ephesians, “In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things.” This call goes out to all of us! How are you being called to be extraordinary this day?
TWO BY TWO
Did you ever wonder why Jesus sent them out two by two? Not threes, not groups of four? Perhaps it is just the most practical configuration. Recall that in last week’s Gospel Jesus was not accepted in his own town and was astonished by the lack of faith that he found there. The disciples would be too new in their faith to know how to deal with that kind of rejection. With three you always end up two against one. With a pair, the two could support each other emotionally and spiritually, and lift each other up in prayer. When traveling, having a companion was much safer than being on one’s own, and if there were treacherous spots in the journey, they could help each other through. If you were begging for lodging, two might be able to get in, while a larger group might not be so fortunate. The Gospel gives no indication of who the partners were, but presumably they were sent in combinations that made each pair the strongest proclaimers of Christ. They were able to drive off many demons and cure illnesses.
SHAKE THE DUST OFF YOUR FEET
Jesus told the pairs of disciples, “Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.” Jesus is preparing the disciples for the experience he had in his home town. This is how you behave when you are not accepted. He didn’t tell them to curse them or threaten them, just simply shake off the dust and move on. Rejection is a hard thing for any of us, and Jesus is teaching us how to handle it, as if to say “Pick your battles.” This is a good reminder to us all in a time and culture when the climate is so politically charged. Know when it is best to shake the dust and walk away from social media, from an angry word, or from something that won’t turn out well. Respond and stay true to your
Psalm 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
Ephesians 1 :3-14 [3-10]
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