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Breath of the Spirit

Pastoral, Liturgical, Teaching, and Social Justice Moments brought to you by DignityUSA.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life.

 

According to the author, should we doubt our having been chosen, we simply have to reflect on the fact that Jesus’ Spirit has become an essential part of our life. We don’t have such a powerful Spirit because of our looks, but because of what Jesus has called us to do and be.

 

JULY 12TH, 2015: FIFTEENTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

Readings:

Amos 7:12-15
Ephesians 1:3-14
Mark 6:7-13

Listening to today’s three readings, there’s no doubt God has especially called us.

The disciple of Paul responsible for the letter to the Ephesians says it best: “God chose us in (Christ) before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. . . . In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ.” We’re not an historical accident. God not only brought us into existence, Jesus has chosen us to carry on his ministry. According to the author, should we doubt our having been chosen, we simply have to reflect on the fact that Jesus’ Spirit has become an essential part of our life. We don’t have such a powerful Spirit because of our looks, but because of what Jesus has called us to do and be.  

We’re certainly not the first people to be chosen by Jesus to carry on his Spirt-guided ministry. Mark tells us in today’s gospel pericope that he originally sent out the Twelve to join him in preaching “repentance.”

Scholars tell us that, as an itinerant preacher, Jesus was frequently accompanied by “the Twelve.” They were the outward sign of his determination to direct his good news to all of Israel’s twelve tribes, not just to the preeminent tribes of Judah and Benjamin. He presumed all Yahweh’s Chosen People were actually chosen; chosen, as he believed, to change their value systems so they could experience God working effectively in their daily lives.

Today he teaches his specially chosen twelve disciples that the message he entrusts to them is more important than anything else they’d experience on their journey. They should concentrate only on the essentials. Where they stay or what they eat is insignificant. It doesn’t even matter whether they fail or succeed in their preaching. He expects them to understand the importance of their message. Those chosen by God must always make certain their priorities are God’s priorities.

Yet, as we hear in Amos’ encounter with Amaziah, in difficult times we have to keep reminding ourselves that we’re actually set aside by God for God’s work. We can’t waver in that conviction as Amos seems to do in today’s passage. How can he tell Amaziah, “I’m no prophet?” He certainly looks and talks like a prophet.

Realizing the normal biblical way to surface Yahweh’s word in our lives is to surface the prophets in our lives, priests and kings in ancient Israel created a system of “shrine and court prophets:” individuals on the payroll of the priests and kings who supplied visitors to their shrines and advisors in their palace with the “word of God” the priests and kings wanted the visitors and advisors to hear.  

Given this system, Amaziah thinks all he has to do is tell Amos, “Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah! There earn your bread by prophesying, but never again prophesy in Bethel.” He expects Amos to obey him like all his other “prophets” obey him.

In this situation, when Amos shouts, “I’m no prophet!” he’s basically saying, “I’m not your prophet! I’m not on your payroll!” He’s convinced Yahweh took him from “following the flock.” Yahweh told him to prophesy, not Amaziah.

Perhaps one reason we cave in under pressure when we’re trying to carry on Jesus’ ministry is that we’re not exactly convinced Jesus has called us to be “other Christs.” It’s then that we should reread Ephesians 1. There’s no reason we can’t be as certain of our calling as Amos was of his.

 

 

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