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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sunday 15th (B) in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Amos 7:12-15): Amaziah, priest of Bethel, said to Amos, «Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah! There earn your bread by prophesying, but never again prophesy in Bethel; for it is the king’s sanctuary and a royal temple». Amos answered Amaziah, «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».
Responsorial Psalm: 84
R/. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
I will hear what God proclaims; the Lord, for he proclaims peace. Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him, glory dwelling in our land.

Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven.

The Lord himself will give his benefits; our land shall yield its increase. Justice shall walk before him, and prepare the way of his steps.
2nd Reading (Eph 1:3-14): Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 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. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us.

In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth. In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ. In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.
Versicle before the Gospel (Cf. Ef 1:17-18): Alleluia. May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 6,7-13): Jesus called the Twelve to him and began to send them out two by two, giving them authority over evil spirits. And He ordered them to take nothing for the journey except a staff; no food, no bag, no money in their belts. They were to wear sandals and were not to take an extra tunic. And he added, «In whatever house you are welcomed, stay there until you leave the place. If any place doesn't receive you and the people refuse to listen to you, leave after shaking the dust off your feet. It will be a testimony against them». So they set out to proclaim that this was the time to repent. They drove out many demons and healed many sick people by anointing them.

«Jesus called the Twelve to him and began to send them out two by two»

Fr. Jordi SOTORRA i Garriga (Sabadell, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, the fifteenth Sunday of ordinary time (B), we read that Jesus sends out the Twelve, two by two, to preach. Up until now they had accompanied the Master through Galilee, but the time had come for them to start spreading the Gospel, the Good News: the news that God, Our Father, loves us with an endless love and that he has brought us into existence so as He could make us eternally happy. This news is for everybody. Nobody is left outside of these liberating teachings of Jesus. Nobody is excluded from the Love of God. It has to reach every corner of the Earth. The joy of full and universal salvation, through Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man for our sake, who died and was resurrected and is actively present in the Church, has to be announced to the world.

Equipped with «authority over evil spirits» (Mk 6,7) and with almost nothing else —«And He ordered them to take nothing for the journey except a staff; no food, no bag, no money in their belts. They were to wear sandals and were not to take an extra tunic» (Mk 6,8)— they begin the Church's mission. The effectiveness of their evangelization will not depend on human or material influences but on the power of God and on sincerity, on the faith and witness of he who is preaching. «the force ,the energy and the giving of oneself shown by the evangelists comes from a source which is the love of God, placed in our hearts by the gift of the Holy Spirit» (John Paul II).

Nowadays, the Good News still hasn't reached all corners yet, nor with the necessary intensity. Conversion has to be preached; there are many evil spirits to be defeated.

Do those of us who have received the Good News appreciate its value? Are we aware of it? Are we grateful for it? Do we feel like missionaries, sent out to preach with example and, if necessary with words, so that nobody who comes our way in this life be denied the Good News.

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