Daily Reflection
July 16th, 2000
Larry Gillick, S.J.
Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

The Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 
Amos 7:12-15
Psalms 85:9-14
Ephesians 1:3-14
Mark 6:7-13

We hear in today's First Reading of a dismissal, a sending off of the prophet Amos.  He did not ambition to be a teller-of-truths; he was formerly a shepherd and a trimmer of trees.  He got himself into this profession of disturbing consciences and criticizing behaviors by listening to God's call.

We hear the king's High Priest, Amaziah, telling Amos to go elsewhere and pedal his prophecies.  Amos has been telling terrible visions he has seen which tell of the destruction of the kingdom of Israel unless there are some changes.

God has been speaking to Amos so that through his words the voice of God may be heard and Amos has had to relay these tidings to the unjust, self-indulgent people of God.  They are still God's people, but have strayed and the reluctant shepherd has to pass on the visions and messages from God.  Obviously, the King and his followers do not want to hear any disturbing voices.  So Amos is sent away.

The Gospel depicts another kind of sending away.  Jesus extends His loving touch through the missioning of the "Twelve".  They, like Amos, are tellers of a vision.  They have seen the works and personality of Jesus and as with anything good, they want to share it.

They are given instructions on how to do and be as their Master has done.  They are to live as dependently upon God as possible so as to be free to speak from their hearts.

There are certain things we need to hear, but do not necessarily want to hear.  There are other things we want to hear and also need to make our own.  Amos has been speaking things that God knows the people need to hear as the Beloved People of God.  They have been cheating, treating the poor with contempt and not taking care of the gifts God has given them.  They need to hear, but do not want to hear it, because they are enjoying their independence from God.  In a sense they have been listening to their own words to and about their identity.  If they are reminded who they are, they would have to live more justly and gratefully.

The Apostles are sent to speak to us of what we deeply want and long for; the healing, comforting, and often challenging words of Jesus.  The early Apostles went off preaching "repentance" which we continue to need to hear, as well as the curing touch of Jesus, which we want.

In being members of the Eucharistic community, the Body of Christ, we still remain members of the "body of the world".  It is most helpful for our spiritual lives and our participation in Christ's mission, to be honestly aware of those things we need to hear, but don't want to ingest.  If there is to be a curing then we must humbly admit our resistance to and even our resentment of, God's need to guide us and bring us back into focus about who we are.

It is also a prayerful activity to touch in our hearts, those deep desires and wants which this world can not give, though it tries, advertisingly hard to do.  We long for peace, security, accompaniment, meaning, self-awareness and acceptance, trust and a sense of being loved.  Each of these are deep longings in every one of us and the early Twelve began their own advertising campaign of extending the teachings of Jesus as the true means of living peacefully with these sacred "wants".

The apostles of our materialistic-age attempt to seduce us by promising quick and easy ways of finding fulfillment to our deepest "wants".  We can hear their homilies in the TV advertising's and see their attempts at attracting us in the magazines.  It is so helpful to pray with our "wants" by smiling at how we are encouraged to believe that "it doesn't get any better than this".

We pray with our "needs-to-hear" and our "wants-to-hear".  We have great needs to repent from how we have been seduced.  God has a loving-need to keep refocusing us on who we are.  We have tremendous wants and God has a loving-want to cure us and anoint our longing hearts.

The Second reading today is too long to be heard and taken in well.  It would be a comfort to read it quietly and slowly so as to hear how God has bent to our needs and tended to our wants.  "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens." Do we need to hear this?  Do we long to hear such wonders?

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