15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Fr. Vinner)
FULFILLING GOD’S PURPOSE FOR CHOOSING ME
My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
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 missionary nature of the church and of 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 a great opportunity to ask ourselves these very important questions: “What is God’s purpose for choosing me as his disciple? Am I fulfilling this purpose?”
In our first reading, God chose a poor farmer Amos, to go and prophesy in the northern kingdom of Israel. 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 spoke for their pockets, accounts, and stomachs. Hence, in their place God chose Amos. In spite of the oppositions 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, then we shall become wonderful disciples and instruments for His mission. So, as no disciple lives for himself alone, the secondary purpose 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. Afterwards, He sent them out as missionaries to preach to others. That is, 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 others encounter and experience Christ.
In order to help his disciples to 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 definitely lose focus of his mission. That was why he instructed his disciples 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 this very important instruction of Christ. Perhaps, this is the reason we achieve little.
We, too, have a witnessing mission: Each Christian is called not only to be a disciple but also to be an apostle. As disciples, we are to follow Jesus and imitate Jesus. As apostles, we are to evangelize the world. We are called to share with others not just words, or ideas, or doctrines but an experience, our experience of God and His Son, Jesus. Like the apostles, like St. Francis of Assisi, like St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa), we are all chosen and sent to proclaim the Gospel through our living. It is through our transparent Christian lives that we must show in our own actions the love, mercy and concern of Jesus for the people around us. Since we are baptized, Jesus is calling us in our working and living environment to evangelize, to invite people to know Jesus, to love him, to serve him and to follow him. An important part of evangelism is the simple act of inviting a friend or family member to join us in worship. This is where reconciliation between persons and God is most likely to take place. We do not have to commit verbal assault on someone with our convictions. A simple invitation offered out of a loving and joyful heart is the most powerful evangelistic message of all.
We have a mission to live as children of God. Realization of our dignity as children of God should change our outlook on life. We are to be children filled with love, rather than selfishness and disobedience. We are to respect our brothers and sisters in Christ. As God’s children, we should live a life of absolute trust in the goodness of our Heavenly Father, who knows what is best for us. The realization that we are the children of God should bring us great comfort, peace and joy–even in our worst moments.
Finally, obeying the instruction of Christ is a sure means of fulfilling his purpose for choosing us as his disciples. Whereas, neglecting it is the easiest way of losing focus. So, we must constantly remind ourselves that God chose us for a purpose and, strive to achieve it.
May God Bless us!
FR. S.Vinner HGN