This weekend a priest from the Piarist Fathers is preaching at our Masses, as part of the annual Mission Cooperative Appeal. As a boy I don't recall meeting many priests from religious orders, aside from these co-op weekends. Who knows whether a young man or woman might be inspired at the thought that he or she could serve where the Church awaits full flowering!
Our Reverend Guest "frees" me from a weekend homily, but I certainly don't want to neglect the Scriptures that Mother Church has offered for our consideration.
A cursory glance at the second reading--Ephesians 1:3-14 (q.v.)--might spawn confusion, what with its compound and complex sentences, its profuse profundities packed in prepositional phrases. (Spare me!) It might help us to look at the major verbs in the passage, which tell of God's actions and their results in our lives.
God has "blessed" (1:3) us--literally, spoken well of us--for in the sending of the Son, we receive everything. He "chose" (1:4)--picked us out--and "destined" (1:5) us for adoption (it was on the horizon), manifesting His glory by giving us grace. He "has made known to us the mystery of His will" (1:9), which includes us in the full summary of all that the Father created in view of the Son.
For our part, we "have redemption…in accord with the riches of His grace that He lavished upon us" (1:8). No trickle, this. This redemption comes to us by way of the Gospel that we hear and believe (1:13), as well as the sealing of the Holy Spirit (1:14). The Spirit's designation conveys an inheritance that we, like the Prodigal Son, already begin to receive. Our cherished possession is His possession of us!
This is a setup--and a far better one than the lot of Amos. He neither considered nor desired the yoke of prophecy. Yet God sent him north to Israel, into depraved and therefore hostile territory. Amos had to approach his task with the radical trust that Jesus would recommend for His envoys (Mark 6:7-13). Well, He didn't say, "Trust," but He did suggest that they travel light and be content with what they should receive--even if they receive indifference or outright opposition.
Our missionary speaks of the climes and cultures to whom his associates are sent, nestled in the backwoods of Kentucky. Since the whole Church is, by nature, missionary, we don't have to travel far to find fields ready for sowing; nor do we have to invent the message. In a sense it may seem like we're selling something that the people don't yet know they need. The stirrings for justice, mercy, and truth are plentiful, even if the clamors of the marketplace have stifled their appetites.
What would happen if we anticipated a warm welcome, inviting eyes and perked ears?
INCIDENTALLY, I note with gratitude the nod from Big Pulpit, who has linked its readers to a previous posting from 7 July. That's a first, as far as I am aware; may it not be the last!