Reflection for Sunday 14th July 2024

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sharing in Christ's Mission (Mark 7: 7-13)

When Jesus sent out the apostles to extend his mission, he said more about their lifestyle than about what to say.  As St. Francis put it, preach at all times, sometimes using words.  We are so bombarded today by advertising pressure, slogans, and biased media that people are rightly suspicious of words.  Saint Paul VI said wisely that if people today listen to evangelisers, it is because, first, they are witnesses.  What you are thunders so loudly that I cannot hear what you are saying!

What sort of witness did Jesus emphasise for the apostles?  Don't be burdened with the accumulation of unnecessary goods.  Cooperate with others.  Trust in God's providence and the generosity of people.  Bring peace and joy to all you meet.  Avoid confrontation.  Let the joy of your personal relationship with God pass the message to your face.

Shake off the dustShake off the dust!

What Pope Francis called "sourpuss religion" would put anybody off.  “Faith without good works is dead,” (James 2:17). The charity of works is the unmistakable proof of the charity of words.

Who are the apostles today?

Sixty years ago, the Second Vatican Council emphasised the universal call to holiness, pointing out that the call to holiness and mission is not confined to priests and nuns.  The Council identified the Church as the People of God.  Clearly, Jesus did not intend his followers to settle for a private religion of me-and-God. Our Christian mission has its source in the charism of baptism, its development in confirmation and its sustenance in the Eucharist where we are nourished firstly by the word of God and then by Jesus as the bread of life. At the end of Mass, we are sent out to love and serve the Lord.   When Jesus said “You are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world,”he meant it for all his disciples, not just the clerical ranks.   Here in Europe at any rate, the clerical ranks are rapidly depleting but the charisms and mission of all who are baptised are increasingly recognised.

Mission begins at home

What can you do to bring a family member back to religion?  Angry confrontation usually does more harm than good.  Does anybody ever win an argument?  Getting the last word is never a sign of convincing the other person.  The louder the voices, the more each side is hardened in their opinion.  Nobody ever changes opinion unless there is an openness to change.   Angry exchanges close the door to any change of heart.  That is why Jesus instructed the apostles: "If people refuse to listen to you, walk away and shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them." So, what can you do?  Be gentle.  Respect the other person even if you do not agree.  Give witness by the way you live.  Trust in God's power and pray.  Change of heart must take place before there is change of mind.  And change of heart takes time.

“Jesus wants evangelisers who proclaim the good news not only with words, but above all by a life transfigured by God’s presence” (Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel).


Risen Lord, walk the road of life with us.
Come Holy Spirit,
renew the heart of the Church,
renew the face of the earth.