The Authority of Christ. Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Joseph Evans comments on the readings for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time and Luis Herrera offers a short video homily.

Joseph Evans-July 11, 2024-Reading time: 2 minutes

Jesus sends his apostles out to preach lacking basic resources, but with the only thing they really need: his mandate. He gives them "authority over unclean spirits." but "he instructed them to carry for the road a staff and nothing else, no bread, no saddlebag, no money loose in the girdle.". They could wear sandals, but not two tunics. Interestingly, in other accounts in which Jesus sends his disciples, he also insists on radical poverty, but there are slight differences as to what they may or may not wear. For example, in Mt 10:10 they are not allowed to carry a staff or sandals. The point is that what matters is radical poverty, but what exactly radical poverty is can vary according to circumstances. In some places something really is an indispensable necessity; in others it is not.

Jesus is telling us that the only essential requirement is His command, the call from Him, the authority He gives us. If we have this, nothing else is as important. And without it, nothing will succeed. There is an episode, for example, in which the Israelites - having refused to enter the Promised Land when God told them to do so - try to do so later, but against their will. Not surprisingly, the whole effort ends in complete disaster (Num 14:39-45; Deut 1:41-45).

A similar idea appears in today's first reading, in which Amaziah the priest orders the prophet Amos to leave the sanctuary at Bethel and return to the land of Judah. This is "the sanctuary of the king and the house of the kingdom."he tells Amos. A previous king, at the time of the schism between the north and the south of Israel, had erected Bethel as a sanctuary to prevent people from going to Jerusalem. It was a nationalized religion. For Amaziah, the authority of Bethel came from the king. But Amos counters by saying that his own authority came from God. He had not been part of a family or group of prophets, but God called him when he was a simple sycamore farmer. It is God's call that counts, not the king's patronage.

That is why today's readings teach us to look for our support where it is to be found: in God, not in possessions, not in human power. The only thing that matters is that God has called us, has called us, has called us, has called us. "chosen in Christ"as we heard in the second reading. Christ's call is all the authority and support we need.

Homily on the readings of Sunday 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

The priest Luis Herrera Campo offers its nanomiliaA short one-minute reflection for these Sunday readings.

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