Celebrate Sunday Mass - 7.11.21

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7/11/2021 (2 months ago)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

JULY 11, 2021 -- 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time 

Dear Catholic Online Community and Catholic Online School students...

I AM HAPPY TO OFFER EACH OF YOU AN INVITATION TO SUNDAY MASS ON THE FIFTEENTH SUNDAY in OORDINARY TIME in the Catholic Diocese of Tyler. The response to offering these liturgies online has been overwhelming. The readings, as always, offer so much for us to reflect on. It is helpful to pray through them and reflect upon them before we assist at Holy Mass.

Our first reading is taken from the Book of the Prophet Amos. Amos is one of what are called the "minor prophets" of the Hebrew Scriptures - what Christians call the Old Testament. There are twelve of these "minor prophets". The term does not reflect the lack of importance of the writings. Rather, the length of the Books. 

In this excerpt from the 7th chapter of Amos, we learn something about the challenges a true prophet of the Lord encounters, as well as the opposition they so often face because people often do not want to hear the word the Lord gives the prophets to deliver. Amos delivered his prophetic messages during the reign of King Jeroboam. With boldness, he spoke out against the leadership of the Northern Kingdom, Judah. This message of warning was to the chagrin of others who, while praising the same errors in leadership, were uttering false prophesies. Thus, he faced opposition from within. 

The message of the Book, in a general sense, is if God's people turn away from Him - Judgement results. 

He expresses this dynamic in his prophecies. It is reinforced in the visions given to Him which he uses to explain his message to the people. In our first reading, Amaziah, a priest, tells Amos to leave the land of Judah and stop speaking his prophetic words. He accuses Amos of being a false prophet because Amos is warning the King to turn away from sin. And Amos warns of the fall of the Kingdom. 

Amos responds to Amaziah by emphasizing an essential aspect of the call to be a prophet, a spokesperson, of the Lord. That it is a genuine calling from the Lord and does not need the respect of men. Amos says "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."  And he did just that. Because the Lord said it, he proclaimed it prophetically.

We have some prophets in our midst today. Sometimes their frank warnings make some, even in the leadership of the Church, uncomfortable. But they are being called to warn of the consequences of turning away from the truths of the faith. We need to hear their warnings and repent. 

In our second reading, taken from the first chapter of the first letter of the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians, we are reminded that the Lord has "chosen us, in Him, to be holy and without blemish". In another book of a minor prophet in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Book of Joel, the Lord promised that the day would come when He would pour out His Spirit on all flesh and "...your sons and your daughters shall prophesy..." (Joel 2:28).

In his sermon on the day of Pentecost - after the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples, who had gathered with Mary, the Mother of the Lord in the Upper Room - Peter quoted the entire prophecy of Joel. He told the crowd that it has been fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, just as Jesus promised. This marked a distinct development from the role of Prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures. With the coming of the Messiah, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the prophetic role of the whole Church, the New Israel, has now come. What does that mean for each one of us?

Each one of us, when we were Baptized into Jesus Christ, were incorporated into His Mystical Body, the Church. We now participate in His threefold office of "priest, prophet and king". We are called to live prophetically. We are called to speak - by both word and deed - the message of the Lord. 

Yes, there are still some within the Body of Christ with special prophetic gifts (See, Corinthians 12), but all of us have been called to prophesy. Do we believe this? Are we living a prophetic life? Are we speaking the Truth of the Lord to a generation which has lost its way? 

When we do, we will face opposition and we should not be surprised when it comes.

The Gospel text appointed for this Holy Mass, ties this entire theme all together. It is taken from the 6th chapter of the Gospel of St Mark. Jesus summons the twelve and sends them out, two by two. He empowers them to preach repentance and do battle with the demons who will oppose them. He tells them to heal the sick, anointing them with oil. In short, he calls them to be His Messengers, His Ambassadors. To carry on His redemptive Mission. He is the Head, and we are His Body.

He still sends us out - you and me - and, by the power Holy Spirit, empowers us to continue His Redemptive mission. He gives us the grace we need, a participation in His Divine Life, through the Sacraments. He gives us instructions through His written Word in the Bible and through the teaching of His Church. 

To be a Christian is to be a prophetic missionary, a disciple of Jesus. That is true no matter what our state in life, career, or age. How are we doing?  

May the Lord Jesus Christ be the center of your life and the heart of your home. Have a wonderful Lords Day.

Deacon Keith Fournier
Dean of Catholic Online School

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