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SUNDAY GOSPEL REFLECTION FROM VATICAN RADIO

(English version exclusive to this website)

Translated and summarized from the homily by Fr Fabio Rosini

July 11th 2021. Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

GOSPEL Mark 6:7-13

Translated from a homily by Don Fabio Rosini, broadcast on Vatican Radio

Don Fabio’s reflection follows the Gospel reading . . .

GOSPEL Mark 6:7-13
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs giving them authority over the unclean spirits. And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, ‘Do not take a spare tunic.’ And he said to them, ‘If you enter a house anywhere, stay there until you leave the district. And if any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them.’ So they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them.

The Gospel of the Lord: Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ

SUMMARY

In the first reading, the prophet Amos describes himself as a cultivator of sycamores. This task involved piercing and cutting the trees. It is a good metaphor for prophecy because when the prophet speaks, his listener must be pierced and wounded momentarily if he really takes the message to heart. In the Gospel, Jesus sends his apostles out in pairs, with no sack, money, or spare clothes. They are to bring simply the word they have received from Christ. Like Amos, the disciples could well be rejected. Sometimes we forget that the Good News is something that we can only offer to others, not force on them. Evangelisation is not about conquests or victories. Just as God offers us his grace, so too we can only offer to others what we have received. The reason Jesus instructs the disciples to carry nothing is so that they are placed in a completely vulnerable state. They do not threaten nor exert force. Love is like this. If love is not given freely then it is not love. Every mission that the Lord gives us, every good work that he prompts us to do, must be carried out by us with the attitude of being willing to accept the rejection of others. We must not be fixated by success but be always willing to leave things in the hands of God. Our work becomes defensive and destructive if we do not maintain this attitude. Christ came among us with nothing. All he bore was his staff – the cross – by which he healed and saved us. On the cross, naked and despoiled of everything, he achieves our redemption. Often we have the mentality of power and success which we tend to project onto the Gospel. We look for results and affirmation for our work. We forget that Christ failed as far as earthly success is concerned. And that is how it is. The victory of Christ is not a mundane, worldly victory. It is the victory of love, which can be refused. But when one welcome it, one experiences the power of God.

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