In the readings for Sunday, July 15, lives are shaken up, and we are sent out to the world.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me, Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”
Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
In him we were also chosen … so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ.
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
You just never know to what God is going to call you. Have you ever been minding your own business, going through your life pretty smoothly and then, BAM! Something changes drastically, taking you completely off guard? It could be a good thing, it could be something that appears, or even something bad. But all of a sudden, you’re different.
That’s what happened to Amos. He was a pretty successful business man. The first reading says that he was a “dresser of sycamores.” That doesn’t mean that he put clothes on trees; he tended these little mini fig trees, pruning them to make sure they didn’t have bugs and that they would grow fruit. He also kept herds. Then, one day, God told him to go to the nations of the world and tell them that they were doing everything wrong. He had to go and accuse all of the rich people (remember, he was one of them) of abusing the poor, and getting rich on the backs of the vulnerable. Like most of the prophets, that meant trouble for Amos. He had to leave his business and get into everyone else’s business. Generally speaking, people don’t like that. So, he had a really hard time of it; and it was never what he had planned for his life.
The second reading tells us that our being chosen like Amos and the Apostles is the first installment of our inheritance from Jesus. We receive the Holy Spirit, and then we’re sent out to tell people all about God. Sometimes you might want to tell God to keep that inheritance, but when it comes down to it, that’s why we were baptized. We were baptized not for comfort and ease of life, but for the discomfort of the Gospel.
But, we’re not in it alone! Jesus sent the Apostles out two by two for a reason. We’re meant to have companions for our journey, to help us be accountable and not get discouraged. Jesus told them not to take lots of provisions for the journey, but to trust that God will care for them as they go. It’s the same with us. We get the call to go out (which could be comforting someone who needs it, visiting a lonely person, telling the truth in a difficult situation, giving material goods to someone in need … ) and we go. We should not worry about how we will have what we need to accomplish it, but know that if God called us to it, he’ll give us what we need to get through it.
What is your favorite way to help people?
Who are your companions on your journey — with whom has God sent you “two by two”? How do you help one another?
Have you ever had a shake-up moment like Amos did? What difficult thing did God call you to? Did you go without hesitation? Did you meet a lot of trouble along the way? How did you get through it?
Many fruits are in season right now. If you have a “u pick” orchard near you, go peach (or whatever is in season near you) picking in honor of Amos, the dresser of sycamores.
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”