Homily for the 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B

Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Choosing Me

Readings: 1st: Amos 7, 12-15; Ps: 84; 2nd: Eph 1, 3-14; Gos: Mk 6: 7-13

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

(https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8452-8392)

Today is the fifteenth Sunday of ordinary time. One theme common to all the readings of this Sunday is: “God’s Choice and purpose for us as his disciples.” This simply points to both the church’s missionary nature and our calling as disciples of Christ.

The readings remind us that God’s choice of us was not a product of chance, but a deliberate one. Thus, this Sunday, the Church provides us an excellent opportunity to ask ourselves these crucial questions: “What is God’s purpose for choosing me as his disciple? Am I fulfilling this purpose?”

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In our first reading, God chose a poor farmer Amos to prophesy in Israel’s northern kingdom. God had a purpose for this. He knew there were prophets there. However, they were not his choice because they had compromised their calling. They were corrupt and distracted by materialism. So, they no longer delivered justice or spoke the truth.

Instead of speaking for the poor and the oppressed, they worked for their pockets, accounts, and stomachs. Hence, in their place, God chose Amos. Despite the opposition and challenges he faced from the “professional and paid prophets,” he fulfilled God’s purpose for choosing him.  He was not tainted by the corruption and materialism of his time.

In our second reading, Paul not only reminds us that God chose us in Christ. He equally reminds us of the reason He chose us: “To be holy, and spotless, and to live through love in his presence…. that we should become his adopted sons” This is the remote purpose of God’s choice of each one of us. As the old Baltimore Catechism teaches us: “God made us to know Him, to love Him and, to serve Him…” (q.126).

If we do not compromise this primary purpose, we shall become outstanding disciples and instruments for His mission. So, as no disciple lives for himself or herself alone, the secondary goal of God’s choice of us is to reach out to others. That is, to develop a missionary spirit. Together, these are the ultimate purpose of God for choosing us.

Today’s gospel highlights Christ’s choice and purpose for his disciples. Christ called his disciples and strengthened their faith through his teachings and miracles. In other words, He took time to prepare and nourish them spiritually. Afterward, he sent them out as missionaries to preach to others. That is, a mission to their community and world.

Through this, mission “ad intra” becomes the foundation for mission ad extra.” This simply means building our faith in Christ, living a holy life in him. It also means developing a missionary spirit to help others encounter and experience Christ.

To help his disciples succeed and not lose focus of this purpose, Christ instructed them on how to go about their mission. Of course, He knew the power and influence of materialism and that any soul trapped by it will lose focus of his mission. That was why he instructed his disciple against it.

This was the case of Demas (Paul’s former companion), who, according to Paul, “has followed the way of this present world” (2 Tim 4:10). Sadly, some of us pastors, priests, and religious and, of course, the people of God have lost focus of our mission by disobeying Christ’s necessary instruction. Perhaps, this is the reason we achieve little.

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Finally, obeying Christ’s instruction is a sure means of fulfilling his purpose for choosing us as his disciples. At the same time, neglecting it is the easiest way of losing focus. So, we must continually remind ourselves that God chose us for a purpose and strive to achieve it.

Peace be with you!

Maranatha!

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