• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 13 July 2018 18:54

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time - 2018

Written by Fr Elmer Ibarra SVD

Fr Elmer Ibarra 150 BestWe used to have a saying in the seminary, “God does not call the qualified, He qualifies those he called.” The first reading and the gospel for today tells us exactly that. We used to have a saying in the seminary, “God does not call the qualified, He qualifies those he called.” The first reading and the gospel for today tells us exactly that. 

In the first reading, God sent the prophet Amos to Bethel to prophesy for the Lord. And when he reached there, sure enough the people didn’t readily accept his message and instead of asking Amos about the message, they attacked his background. Amaziah, the priest of Bethel told Amos to get out and not to prophesy in Bethel again. And yet, in all humility, Amos explains that he is no prophet, he doesn’t even belong to a company of prophets. He is a shepherd and vine dresser and yet he is called by God to be a prophet for Israel.

In the Gospel for today, Jesus is giving his disciples or as Mark would describe to us it’s “The Twelve”, some on-the-job training. Jesus knows that one day he has to go and if he wants the mission to continue, he needs followers who will be able to continue his work when he’s gone. Oddly, enough composition of the Twelve is not really the ideal group who you would want to recruit. 

Firstly, if you were Jesus, you may want to recruit people who are intelligent enough to be able to remember what you have taught them. And yet, I think we’re sure that none of them had a very high level of education, a good number of were fishermen. And fishermen during the time don’t receive much education because they don’t really need it that much. 

Secondly, if you were Jesus, you may want to recruit people who have the same mind or at least to be able to work together. Well among the recruits of Jesus, you have Matthew, who is a tax-collector. During the time of Christ, tax-collectors are hated and even considered public sinners, not just because they extort a lot of people when they pay taxes but more importantly because they are working for the Roman Empire and for a lot of Jesus, they resent the presence of the Roman Empire and any Jew who are working with them are considered collaborators of the oppressors and are hated in society. Then Jesus also called Simon and Judas Iscariot, who are known as zealots. Zealots are people who are fighting in secret against the Roman Empire. They believe that Israel should be freed from any foreign rule and occupation. So just imagine the contrast of personalities that Jesus called to be his disciples. And not only that, it is not uncommon that they would argue among themselves from serious issues to petty questions like who should site at the right hand of Jesus during meals and who is the greatest among them. 

Thirdly, if you were Jesus, you may want to recruit people who are loyal. Loyalty is key in order that the group would be united. And yet, as we have seen Judas betrayed Jesus by handing him over to the temple guards and that started his passion and death. And when a servant girl, who is a nobody in Jewish society, questioned Peter if he has any association to Jesus, Peter who promised Jesus that he is willing to be crucified with him on Calvary declared that he doesn’t know Jesus not only once or twice but three times. And all of the disciples of Jesus left him after he was arrested. 

And there are many more that we can say but we should realise that Jesus stayed with his Twelve even though Judas Iscariot sadly took his life. Jesus never gave up on his disciples. He knew that they are as human as everybody else and yet it is because they are human that is why Jesus chose them. 

When I was at a retreat before I professed my final vows, I told the retreat master in a spiritual direction that even though I was recommended by my formators to profess my final vows, I still thought that the grace of the final vows is so immense that I feel I don’t deserve it. (Well, to be honest nobody deserves it anyway). And he said that even if you feel that you don’t deserve this grace of professing your finals vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to the Lord, what the Lord is asking is that you would be generous enough to give yourself to his service through the vows. And what he said has remained in me since. And I guess that’s the reason Jesus chose his disciples; they are all willing to give themselves to his service despite of all their weaknesses. 

All of us are called by Jesus to serve him. All of us are human beings, all of us have weaknesses and yet all of us are being asked by Jesus to be generous enough to give our lives for his service. The question is, are willing to give our lives to him? 

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