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Friday, 09 July 2021 11:01

Celebrating At Home - 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Living sacraments of God’s love

The first reading today tells the story of Amos, an ordinary man who was called by God to be a prophet. Amos, who had been happily looking after his sheep and his sycamore trees when God called him, was sent to preach to people who had become so lost in their wealth, power and self-importance that they could no longer read the face of God in the poor, weak and sick and despised them.

Like Amos, the disciples in the Gospel are ordinary men. None, not even Jesus himself, is a formally commissioned or ordained rabbi, yet they are called and commissioned to preach and to heal.

The Gospel needs to be presented simply and truthfully and without affectation. The preaching disciples must make themselves like the brothers and sisters to whom they dare preach. Perhaps a reminder that he/she is not above those to/for whom he/she preaches.

Too much wealth and too many possessions can easily get in the way of proclaiming the Gospel, as can an exalted sense of self-importance.

Pope Francis is constantly warning priests and seminarians against clericalism (thinking they are above everyone else) and careerism (thinking more about self-advancement in the Church than about mission).

Not everyone will be able to hear or accept the message of the disciples, just as the townsfolk of Nazareth couldn’t perceive the presence of God in Jesus. But there is no firestorm of punishment.

Jesus, though hurt, amazed and dumbstruck, does not retaliate with violent retribution. Instead, he intensifies and multiplies his mission by sending out the disciples to other places. Where once there was only Jesus now there are 12 others spreading the Good News and healing. Disciples are called to proclaim God’s love, not God’s wrath.

It is ordinary people like you and me, not only those formally commissioned by the Church, who are called to read the face of God in ourselves, in others and in the world around us. We try not to get lost in our own power and wealth and self-importance which can easily blind us to the presence of God. We try to be people who become sacraments of God’s presence for one another, who allow God to anoint God’s people with acts of love, compassion, hope and healing.

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Celebrating at Home is a Liturgy of the Word centred around the Gospel reading for each Sunday. It includes a reflection on the Gospel and prayers.

It can be used personally or with your family. Parts for all to pray are given in bold print and all the other parts can be shared among those present.

We hope that Celebrating at Home will be a source of nourishment and strength for all who use it.

In the room you decide to use for this prayer you could have a lighted candle, a crucifix and the Bible. These symbols help keep us mindful of the sacredness of our time of prayer and can help us feel connected with our local worshipping communities.

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