Written by: Thomas Mooney, UF Student
So often throughout a given week we may feel very normal, simply content in existing just like the rest of our society does. We are shown a very different example in the Readings this Sunday. Take, for example, the case of Amos who was a “shepherd and dresser of sycamores” before he was called by God to travel and prophecy (Am 7:14). For reference, these professions of Amos would be roughly the equivalent today to a blue collar career. God is not concerned with the mediocrity of Amos’ profession, instead God recognizes his good nature and calls him to be a prophet to Israel. So too does God call every one of us, no matter how great or small our careers are, to be a prophet for the Kingdom of God. Even if we examine our lives and feel ordinary, we should frequently remind ourselves of the greatness of the mission that every Christian has to spread the Good News. Like Amos, even if we feel too regular to stand in front of kings, we are wise to follow the call of God wherever that may lead us.
What exactly are we to say to others, then, if we are to be prophets in the ordinary world? In the second reading we are shown how the “riches of His grace” and “redemption by His blood” form the basic message of evangelization (Eph 1:8). Think of all of the times during this past week where we acted as if the world was taken for granted and the sacrifice of Christ was completely unacknowledged. It is very easy in a culture filled with bountiful distractions to forget the massive love that we are shown by Christ. Each person we interact with has a deep longing for connection with God that we are blessed to have so often in the Sacraments. The irreverent atheist who belittles you on campus, the old lady at the bus stop, the completely agnostic friend wholly disinterested in religion, and even fellow Catholics all need the love of God, and we have been called to help them find it. Let us all ask that God “enlighten the eyes of our hearts” so that we may see the mundane as an opportunity to spread the Word of God (Eph 1:17).
The Apostles, who take no money, food, or extra clothes, commit entirely to preaching in today’s Gospel. This seems like a very radical calling, so do we fall short of following Christ if we own food or clothes? Probably not, since God calls us by name to follow His will, and this calling might not involve traveling or extreme poverty. We can witness to Christ in a meaningful way to those around us in our normal lives, and if we do we will receive the joy that comes with spreading the Gospel. Even if we are not bishops or nuns or overseas missionaries, in every encounter with every human that we meet, we have the opportunity to share the love of Christ in some way. Do not be too upset when some of your attempts fail entirely. It is not expected for us to convert every single coworker, schoolmate or passerby on the street, Christ did not even expect this from his closest Apostles who had the power to cure diseases miraculously. At some point when you are not being “welcomed” or “listened to” we are advised to “shake the dust” from off ourselves so that we may move on to the next opportunity. As hard as you might try to help an individual, that person must be open to God and sometimes it is best that we humbly move on elsewhere.
If there is a takeaway from this reflection, it is this: Only God can save the world, yet we have a duty to every face we see to demonstrate the love of Christ in our own lives, and this call to be a prophet for God Himself is truly powerful enough to turn the most ordinary parts of your life to the greatest purpose you could ever have.