We continue in Mark’s Gospel this Sunday immediately where we ended last Sunday. Last Sunday, Mark told us Jesus was met with skepticism, unbelief, and rejection in his “native place” – Nazareth. He could not “perform any mighty deed there” because of their lack of faith. Yet, this did not stop Jesus from his mission to proclaim the Kingdom of God. Instead, he sends The Twelve, his Apostles, out two-by-two to put into action what they had seen Him do. They had been prepared for this mission by answering the call (Mark 1:17); by receiving the authority to preach and heal (Mark 3:14-15); and now are sent out as representatives of Jesus with the words and power of His authority. Soon after this mission and their return, the feeding of the five thousand would occur. The mission continues. By some estimates, today there are 2.3 billion Christians with 1.3 billion of them Catholic. Jesus’ power and authority is truly evident.
As we see in the first reading, Amos had to defend himself against Amaziah, the priest, as not being a professional prophet–a prophet for profit–so to speak. These “prophets” usually spoke favorably of some authority figure or conspired with others to speak against someone in power–all for pay or personal gain. They most definitely did not speak God’s words nor acted under His commission for they were not chosen by God.
In the second reading, St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians stresses being chosen by God. God has “blessed us in Christ” and “chose us in him” to be “destined for adoption to Him”. St. Paul tells the Ephesians, and us, that we are blessed not by our own merit but by Christ who has redeemed us “by his blood”. Most importantly, the “mystery of his will”–our justification and salvation through faith in Christ Jesus–has been revealed to us.
Are we then not on a mission for Christ as well? Like the Prophets and the Apostles, we too were chosen by God, and blessed as his adopted children. We have been commissioned to share our time, talents, and treasures with others with the most valuable treasure being our faith in Christ. It will not always be an easy task. It was not for the Prophets and not for the Apostles. Find strength, courage, and your mission in the words of St. Paul today:
“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.”
We are called. We are chosen. We are God’s possessions.
Diaconate Candidate 2024