Lydia Cristini


Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 12, 2015
Amos 7.12-17 | Psalm 85 | Ephesians 1.3-14 | Mark 6.7-13
June 29, 2015

Today's First Reading is an example of God sending a prophet to communicate his will to his people. This prophet is an unlikely candidate and is rejected. Jesus told us no prophet is accepted in his hometown.

Who are the prophets of our own age? Who are the people speaking God's truth? On a global scale, it is safe to say today's prophets include people who speak out for the voiceless, the poor, the rejected, the different, the displaced, the disenfranchised, the de-humanized.

These messages desperately need to be communicated and heard, especially in a world where individualism and materialism seem to be the only solutions offered for almost any problem, especially in a world where the people who have the power seem to be willing to do anything to keep things the way they are.

He ordered them to take nothing with them except a staff. – Mark 6.8

'He ordered them to take nothing with them except a staff.'

Mark 6.8

But what about the personal scale? Who are the prophets in our own lives? Is God trying to say something to us? Are we willing to listen?

In the last few weeks, I have had some great conversations with several people about different topics. What was interesting about these discussions is that they were challenging.

They challenged the way I thought about things. Now, obviously, I pretty much know everything, and my opinions are always correct. So, it's odd when I run into people who have used their own logic to come to a different conclusion.

Despite all that, I really appreciate animated conversations with people who think differently than I do. No matter how vexed I might feel in the moment that the other person is not convinced by my arguments, and no matter how much my opinion still stands afterward, seeing from a different angle is always illuminating.

Most of the time, these challenging conversations come to mind for days afterward. In the end, I find my own position changes, at least a little (or even a lot). Hearing another side always helps me to be a more whole person.

Though I sometimes wish God would just use an audible voice to talk to me, like he did with so many prophets and saints, I understand it is not his modus operandi most of the time.

But, I believe God is still trying to speak his truth to me. Maybe God is trying to change my mind or, more importantly my heart, through conversations with "unlikely" people. I wonder how many times I have missed or rejected God's truth.

God seems to delight in turning worldly expectations on their heads. So, maybe it should not be a surprise when he uses a shepherd to be a prophet, or a carpenter to be a saviour, or a friend's voice to be his voice in our lives.

Perhaps all we can do is ask the Holy Spirit to help us to open our ears, our minds and our hearts to the grace God has "lavished upon us." That way, with all wisdom and insight, God can make known to us the mystery of his will (Ephesians 1.7-9).