The Sunday Project
Go, Proclaim the Word of God
Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time |
By A Vine & Fig Community Member
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.”
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.
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them 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. He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.” 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.
This reflection is written on the traditional territories of many indigenous peoples. This includes the Anishinabek, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Ojinway/Chippewa peoples. The land is home to the Metis and most recently, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation who are direct descendants of the Mississaugas of the Credit. I look to the land for food, oxygen and beauty and thank the many indigenous nations for taking care of this land. No matter where you are located there are indigenous peoples of that land. Take a moment to pause and reflect on the history of the land that you are on and the peoples who have cared for it for years past and years to come.
There is always a guiding theme that runs through the readings of Mass. This Sunday, a theme is God sending us as disciples, yes us. Depending on where you are on your faith journey, discipleship has different meanings. For me discipleship is going out and guiding our communities closer to God. Sometimes this means protesting, sometimes this means activism, sometimes this means actively decolonizing our communities, and many times this means showing people how to love. Love can come easily when we see the humanity in people. Sadly over the years we have learned to dehumanize large groups of people due to our misunderstanding of difference. In the gospel, God calls us to step back from this conditioned response and take the time to understand what is around us and appreciate it. There’s one word in the second reading that confuses many people: fear. It’s not asking us to be afraid of God but rather to stand in wonder.
In the Gospel reading, Christ sent the disciples “out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits”. We have the authority to call out ignorance, racism, homophobia, and discrimination. This can be difficult because it also means actively calling ourselves out when we fail to live by the same standards. When we call for Truth and reconciliation for our indigenous peoples this means action. Sadly, we fall into the trap of performative activism without making long lasting changes to our own way of life. We are called to make long lasting, life changing actions. It is not easy but important. Once we have taken the time to check our own privileges we can then step out and try to direct people to Christ’s Love. The Gospel tells us that if people do not welcome us, when people do not hear us, we should go and shake off the dust as a testimony against them. Not everyone will agree with us and that is something that’s very difficult to understand and accept. We cannot change the mind of everyone, but we can witness to the love of God that we understand them to be. If you’re reading this reflection, it’s because you understand that God is more than hateful speech and discrimination that is often portrayed from the pulpit. If you follow Vine & Fig that means you have started this journey of discipleship that comes with so much pain and we, do it with love.
You might’ve been at mass this weekend, or maybe it’s been a while since you last step foot inside a church. The call of discipleship is for everyone no matter what race, gender or religious tradition. Take the next few minutes to sit in silence and think about how God can use you to fight injustice and bring a better world for all persons. If you are a Canadian Catholic, I encourage you to spend some time to learn about the history of residential schools and learn about ways we can make space for our indigenous siblings and work towards reconciliation as a community. We have yet to see a public apology but that does not mean we cannot live a life that reflects how we feel during this time when being sorry is not sufficient to describe the way that we are feeling.