Our readings today focus on God’s call to Amos and Jesus’ sending of the twelve apostles on mission. The prophet Amos is sent from Bethel. Paul teaches that we were chosen for Christ before the creation of the world. Jesus instructs his disciples and sends them to preach repentance.

In some ways, the Amos reading, and the Gospel account are like two book ends. Amos receives a call and responds courageously, while in the Gospel Jesus summons the twelve and sends them out two by two. In other words, the readings speak of being in mission.

From our baptism, we are sent to be in mission and service, and this is not a lofty calling. Being in mission is an everyday occurrence and begins with those in our own household. How can children these summer days, make life easy for parents and guardians? It may be a simple thing like picking up their toys. That’s mission and service. How can teenagers respond generously to requests for volunteers in the local community? Can they pick fruit, visit a nursing home, or walk a dog for a neighbour. That’s mission and service. And for those of us who are adults, we serve one another, by kindness, thoughtfulness, and by having a positive attitude and co-operative spirit.

The Responsorial Psalm response is Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation. Kindness never goes out of fashion. Looking back over the years, I can recall times when family or friends were kind to me, and these are stand out moments. For example, many years ago, when the heavens opened, I got drenched. A friend very quickly invited me into her home and offered a change of clothes, while she dried mine. That was kindness and it was mission.

Let’s now focus on the Gospel for this Sunday, the fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Jesus summons the twelve to himself before he sends them out on mission. His words are not soft, and his advice is harsh as he spells out for them what not to take on the journey. The very things Jesus names are the essentials we all pack when going on a journey. Jesus insists they are to go without bread, a haversack, coppers, or a spare tunic.

To be in mission today, could be counter cultural, it is to take the long view. To go against the flow in some ways. For example, to nurture and take time apart every day to search for the God within each one of us with a practice that brings deep interiority, like mindfulness or centering prayer. To advocate and speak on behalf of those who are often invisible like the homeless and the new people seeking refuge in our land.

Remember the gospel says, the disciples were sent two by two to carry out the mission. Like the Twelve we too are sent with authority, we go with courage, unincumbered by the non-essentials, trusting in God’s Spirit to speak and heal through us.

 

 

 

 

Fionnuala Quinn, OP.