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Homily – 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time: We’re All Called!

July 12, 2009

This Sunday’s Readings

Have you ever considered what it means to be “called” to do something? We talk about vocations often in our diocese; the word “vocation” is an English word which is derived from the Latin root “vocare” which simply means “to call.” We are blessed to have a large number of men in our diocese in formation for the vocation of priest; we also have women and men who are considering consecrated life as religious brothers and sisters. These are what we usually think of as “vocations”.

Sometimes we refer to single life, or married life, or even our choices of profession as doctors, or lawyers, or nurses, or whatever as vocations. And while it is true that all of these things are exercises of the gifts God has given us, even those things don’t exhaust the list of “vocations “ to which God has called His people.

Consider this: Everyone is called. Everyone responds. What we each have to decide is this: What are we being called to be? And what are we being called to do?

Take a look at today’s readings. Amos, in our first reading, is being invited to get out of the northern kingdom by one of the priests of Bethel. Basically, Amos is stirring up trouble by telling the people of Israel that Jeroboam’s kingdom will be brought down. So naturally, the priest wants him to leave, thinking he’s one of the professional false prophets from the southern kingdom. Amos corrects him, telling him that his job was to herd sheep and trim trees; at least, it was until God got hold of him, and sent him to be a prophet.

The Gospel gives us a little more perspective. Remember that Jesus first called His disciples, making them “fishers of men”; He next gave them authority. The story in this weeks Gospel picks up where Jesus actually sends them out into the countryside to exercise that authority; as the text says, “The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.”

The second reading connects all of this magical, mystical stuff to us: “In him you also, who have heard the word of truth … and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” The writer of Ephesians is telling the Church (including us) that we have all been adopted into Christ, and redeemed by His blood, and now sealed with his Holy Spirit for the tasks we are sent to do!

Amos received a call from God to be a prophet. He was a simple shepherd before that, with no particular skills or distinction. Yet God sent him to go prophesy to a king. Likewise, the Apostles were all simple men…before Jesus called them. He called, He gave them authority…and then He sent them to preach the gospel, to cure the sick, and to cast out demons!

God is still calling people to His service, brothers and sisters. Someone in this very room…is being called to the sacramental priesthood. Someone in this room…is being called to religious life. Others among us are called to the sacrament of Matrimony, to live faithfully as members of “little churches” within our families, transmitting the faith to our children. Still others among us are being called to life as single men and women, to live lives faithful to God’s call.

All of these “vocations” come from God. All of them are hard. And all are places where God sends his Holy Spirit to aid us.

But…there’s more, brothers and sisters, and it’s important that we see it, and act on it!

At the Mass, every Mass, we encounter the Living Christ, first in the assembly of His people, then in His Word read and preached, and most importantly and most perfectly in the Most Blessed sacrament, the Eucharist. And then, having been nourished and strengthened, we hear the priest or the deacon say, “The Mass is Ended, Go in peace to love and serve the Lord”, or similar words. At every Mass, we are all sent out on mission, just as the disciples were, to serve the Lord. That service can take a lot of forms, but at the end of the day, it’s a calling, a mission from God, to every one of us, to Love Christ and to serve Him!

And how do we serve Christ? How do we love Christ? We love and serve Christ by keeping His commands! We love and serve Christ by loving one another! And we love and serve Christ by being faithful to “the word of truth, the gospel of salvation”, that the letter to the Ephesians talks about!

This should be life-changing for us! We have received Christ truly present in the Eucharist, and then we are sent to love and serve Him by being His presence in the world! No matter who we are, even if we’re smelly shepherds like Amos was, God has called us to be witnesses to Christ, fed us for the journey, and sent us into the world!

Vocations come in many shapes and sizes. When we hear “vocation”, our first thought is often the Men in Black, our priests and our seminarians, who are public signs of God’s call to His service. If we’re older, we also think of religious sisters and brothers, some of them in habits, donating their lives to God’s service in a specific area or field. We might even think of our trade, or our rofession, as a “vocation”, because we feel particularly gifted by God to work in it.

But brothers and sisters, we all have a much more basic call, one that every single one of us shares: We are called to love and serve God in the world in which we live. We each have a religious vocation, to witness Christ in our lives, no matter where we’ve been placed.

Everyone is called, without exception. Every time we attend a Mass, we receive Christ, and we are sent on a mission by God. And no matter what the obstacles appear to be, God has given us the strength to do all He’s called us to, through the Christ whom we receive.

At the end of Mass, you’ll hear me say it: “Go; you are sent!”

God is calling us, all of us, and sending us somewhere.

What do you hear God calling you to do?

From → Homilies

One Comment
  1. Dc. Chip – I’m so pleased to hear another voice stressing that “Everyone is called…” Somehow, we miss the boat on that one at time.

    I’ve posted the audio recording of my homily on the 15th Week in Ordinary Time at

    Peace – Dc. Tim


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