Monday, July 6, 2015

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time - July 12, 2015

First Reading Commentary
“Off with you, visionary.”  In the Latin Vulgate the word used for “visionary” is translated to mean “seer” which is the title that the ancient world gave to prophets although in this verse the term is used rather arrogantly. 

"Never again prophesy in Bethel; for it is the king's sanctuary and a royal temple."  It's unclear whether or not Amaziah is carrying out the king's orders when he tells Amos to leave Bethel.  Amaziah, however, does seem to fear the king much more than the prophecies of Amos. 

“The king's sanctuary” is to be understood as the king's palace.  It would appear that Amos did not ask for the gift of prophecy but the Lord's plan for Amos was different than what Amos had in mind.  Amos seems to be content as a shepherd. 

To try and apply this Reading to our daily lives, perhaps an examination of conscience is in order.  What gifts did God give us as individuals that we are not putting to use for the service of others?  What is the reason we're letting these gifts go to waste?  Fear is often a factor, especially fear of rejection, much like Amos is experiencing from Amaziah.  A strong faith is vital in such cases for if the Almighty gave us the gifts, it is a certainty that He wants us to use these gifts to serve His people.  If fear of rejection or embarrassment is our concern, then we must know by faith that if our Lord gave us these gifts, He has also supplied us with the grace to endure all obstacles.

Second Reading Commentary
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens.”  If we have been blessed “with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,” then those blessings are eternal and hint that God's plans for us are eternal. 

“In love He destined us for adoption to Himself through Jesus Christ.”  God's love for us is so unfathomable, it simply wasn't enough for Him to create us; He also wanted us to call Him Father and we would be His adopted sons and daughters.  This, however, could not be achieved by our own merits.  Therefore, God, Whose love knows no bounds, sacrificed His only Son so that this may be achieved.  It was the merits of Jesus Christ which has made us sons and daughters of God our Father for eternity.  Redemption, forgiveness of transgressions and all that is eternally good has been given to us because of the efforts of Jesus. 

“In all wisdom and insight” God has revealed His plan to us that Jesus Christ is the key to a life fit for eternity.  God's plan for us will be accomplished, without a doubt, through Jesus Christ.  Our life now and for all eternity is “for the praise of His glory.”  In baptism we received the gift of the “Spirit, which is the first installment” of God's holy plan.

Gospel Commentary
While some Religious Orders in the Church who live a complete and total life of penance may literally follow the instructions of Jesus in this Gospel account, the overall theme applies to everyone in ministry, lay and ordained. 

Regardless of how we serve God's people, we must have a strong faith.  Occasional rejection from those we try to serve is inevitable but a strong faith will give us the courage we need to continue.  Our Lord and Savior was certainly no stranger to rejection. 

Ministry is not limited to our duties at our parish.  If we are to be true followers of Jesus, then we are all ministers who have been sent to fulfill God's calling, each according to the gifts we have received from Him. 

“They anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.”  Anointing with oil was a common practice; but this ordinary practice, becomes something extraordinary when it has been given to the apostles under the guidance of Jesus Christ.  Some scholars believe this is when the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is instituted.  Others believe that it is at least a prelude to it.  The Council of Trent states that this sacrament is instituted in Mark's Gospel and published in the Epistle of Saint James (5:14) which says: "Is anyone among you sick?  He should summon the priests of the Church, and let him pray over him, anointing him with oil, in the Name of the Lord."