15th Week in Ordinary Time, Monday

When Our Lord calls us to follow him more closely, no matter what path of life he’d like us to walk, it is often not at the same speed or in the same way as those we love. Sometimes we can feel like we’re being treated like the black sheep of the family when we’re the only white one: we have to choose between the love of God and the love of our family in questions of sin, the only scenario in which love for God and love for our family can truly be in opposition. We pray that we never find ourselves in that situation, but Our Lord warns us in today’s Gospel that he can be a source of division. However, if he does shake things up in a family it is to help the conversion of one or more members be a source of grace and conversion for the rest. Each one in the end has to welcome the gifts of grace from God, so sometimes divisions will remain, and we must continue to love and pray.

We are all responsible for each other to draw closer to God, which is why we must not only foster openness to God’s will in our own lives, but openness to his action in the lives of our loved ones as well. When God appears to be calling a son or daughter to the priesthood or consecrated life, that can be a test of whether we put God or ourselves first: suddenly it seems that son or daughter loves Someone Else, and jealousy can ensue, but if we truly seek blessings and happiness for that son or daughter in faith we support them knowing that God’s path is the best one.

Let’s pray for all those “white sheep” out there in a family of black sheep, and also for those considering any vocation to be open to God’s will for their lives.

Readings: Exodus 1:8–14, 22; Psalm 124:1b–8; Matthew 10:34–11:1.

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

In today’s Gospel Our Lord teaches the Twelve that to be an apostle means to give a Gospel example in order to foster a more effective proclamation. One example is poverty: today he tells them to take what they need, but to keep it simple. Our testimony of Gospel simplicity in the things we use is also a way we evangelize. We live this poverty in order to fulfill our mission as apostles. In the First Reading, when the priest accuses the prophet Amos of being a beggar preaching to make a living, Amos responds that he owned a flock and sycamore trees: he had property and possessions. He was a prophet because Our Lord sent him to prophesy, and like the Twelve in the Gospel today, being a prophet doesn’t involve being well equipped or focusing on making a living.

This Gospel poverty also helps us to see the true treasure we possess, a treasure so eloquently expressed today in the Second Reading by St. Paul: before the foundation of the world the Lord has wanted us to be holy and blameless before him. Holiness is the ultimate happiness, even if it seems tough at times, and a great peace comes from having our sins forgiven, making us blameless before Our Heavenly Father. He has adopted us as his sons and daughters. Lastly, he makes his will known to us as the best path to holiness and happiness: we may not like it at times, but it is a source of spiritual fruitfulness for ourselves and those we love.

Let’s thank Our Lord today for all the spiritual wealth he has lavished upon us, and ask him to show us, in the light of those spiritual treasures, what things we really need, and what things we don’t.

Readings: Amos 7:12–15; Psalm 85:9–14; Ephesians 1:3–14; Mark 6:7–13.