Are you a prophet? Are you spreading the Good News? Not an easy job. Amos (7:12-15) says he was not a prophet but a shepherd. God told him to ‘Go’. It wasn’t enough to be a prophet but he needed to lead and guide, too.
St. Paul tells the Ephesians (1:3-14) and us too, that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing and has chosen us to be holy. He always seems to be encouraging us. St. Paul reminds us that we should put on the armor of God in Chapter 6 of Ephesians. He tries to explain what he means with an analogy his audience would be familiar with. You have what you need to step up to the plate (using an analogy you might be more familiar with). You can hit it out of the park! You just need the bat, correct stance and a clear head.
In the Gospel, Jesus sends the Apostles out to heal others. He says not to worry about whether anyone listens. I thought about the example of shaking the dust off of your feet. You may not have experienced walking in sandals for a long distance and collecting dust on your feet and shoes. Maybe you have? Dusting could be wiping home plate clean. You need to keep your perspective. You won’t always get a home run but whether you are the runner or the ump you should be able to see the plate.
Have you ever seen someone slide into home plate? The dust flies. They pray they don’t get tagged out before touching the plate. Their heart is beating fast. They are taking a chance, but they have hope. If they timed it right and the other team’s player throws a bit off, they have got it! Some of us know that feeling of a school assignment or job task that gets put off to the last minute. You need to power through and get it done. You pray for the home run and a job well done!
A few things in the Gospel stood out to me. ‘Don’t take anything with you but you’re walking stick and sandals.’ Depending on God for everything you need takes a very strong faith – trust. My first thought was that a walking stick is like a crutch. Most of us think having a crutch is a bad thing or a sign of weakness. We are supposed to be able to stand ‘on our own two feet.’ But God tells us over and over that we need someone or something to lean on in order to get through this life. A walking stick helps you make it over rough terrain and climb mountains. It gives you balance and strength. Why not use YOUR walking stick?
For us, a walking stick may be a friend, a priest or spiritual director, a spouse, a parent or your Bible. I can’t imagine going anywhere without grace and what better place to get filled up for the journey than the Eucharist at Mass. Fed by the Word and Body, we can make it. God promised us.
So remember, when you are called to lead, we don’t need to take anything with us because God has giving us what we need. We can change the world and people’s lives with just a word. Jesus is sending you! Are you ready? Do you have your walking stick and sandals?
~ Readings for Sunday, July 12, 2015