The Chosen One(s)

Readings for July 15, 2018

Amos 7:12-15
Psalm 85
Ephesians 1:3-14
Mark 6:7-13

www.usccb.org/bible/readings/

Amos, a field laborer, was chosen by God to prophesy to the people of Israel. Paul, a Pharisee and a tent maker, was struck by a blinding light when he was chosen by Jesus to evangelize the Good News. Jesus reminded his Apostles, mostly fisherman and common folks, that “you did not choose me but I chose you and appointed you that you should go bear fruit.” (John 15:16) And I, a Midwestern suburban father and husband, am also chosen, “destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things.”

Being chosen is kinda cool. It makes me feel special, needed, and important. But I am not called to feel special, needed, or important. God chooses people, indeed has chosen me, to get stuff done. Whether through prophesy or preaching, serving or healing, I am called to action in this week’s readings.

Of course, the precept is that Jesus died for my sins and if I profess my faith in him who was sent by God, I will be saved. That’s what St. Paul affirms. But there’s more (because God is always more). Professing my faith is important and necessary for my salvation. In accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior, in being chosen by God, I have accepted the “first installment” of my mission. Doing so, I then need to act on my faith to “exist for the praise of his glory” because living my faith requires I bear fruit.

However, I know that living my faith can be dangerous. Amos was killed for his prophesies. Paul was beheaded for his preaching. All of the Apostles except John were martyred for their faith. Jesus died a horribly painful and gruesome death. While I am lucky enough to live in a country where I can trust that I likely won’t be killed for my faith, I do sometimes feel attacked for it, and that impacts how I approach living by faith.

At the end of each Mass, I am exhorted to “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord with your life.” So when I step out into the world to live my faith, I strap on my armor of truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, the Spirit, and the Word (Ephesians 6:10-18). Sometimes, though, I enter into conversations primed to turn my armor into weapons, spiraling from a profession of my faith into an argument for God, for the Church, for what I believe in. Often, after what I believed was a good argument, I may feel vindicated. But rarely, if ever, have I changed any minds or hearts, or saved any souls.

Jesus saved souls, and he did so because he battled with truth and love. He wore no armor and he brought no weapons, no matter how dangerous he knew a situation would be. When Jesus could no longer change hearts with his words and signs, he stood silently before those who were about to kill him and asked God for forgiveness for those who hung him on the cross. I am called to do the same. When the world does not accept my belief or my attempt to live in accordance with those beliefs, I must continue to show love and reflect his mercy. I can bear more fruit by forgiveness than I can by any argument.

My Lord God, You have chosen me to do Your will. I accept what that may mean for my life. I believe that You will uphold me when I am faithful to Your call. Jesus, I trust in you. Have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen.

9 thoughts on “The Chosen One(s)

  1. Wow. Thank you for your kindness and your thorough response. Yes, we always need to let God be God. We can only doing so by accepting our humanity, accepting our weakness, accepting our role in God’s Kingdom. We do His will so He can complete His plan.

    Like

  2. A very thoughtful reflection, Tim. I don’t always take time to comment but I always read and appreciate your insights! The readings from the past two Sundays have been a much need reminder that my mission is to share the light and truth of Christ and scatter the seeds, and my efforts won’t always be appreciated or welcome. But sometimes pride kicks in and the temptation to do or say whatever it takes to change the person’s mind is very strong, but is it to glorify God or because I want to see the fruit immediately? Maybe both? You rightly pointed out those types of interactions, rarely changes minds, hearts, or save souls. Perhaps much of the fruit we bear is not for us to see until we get to Heaven. Of course, there are those glorious moments when God does let us see how He was able to use our efforts to produce good fruit. Over the years I have learned (and am trying to put into practice) that the most powerful things I can do for Jesus is sharing the faith and glorifying the Lord with my words and the life I live. It is not my job to change hearts, I don’t have that power, that is up to the Holy Spirit working in the other person. Always sharing where we can but also knowing when it is time to dust off our sandals and move on (Mark 6:10). The seeds are planted and now it’s God’s turn. We have more work to do. One of the quotes I call to mind when I really want someone to know the fullness of truth, but I am really not getting anywhere, comes from St. Bernadette: “My job is to inform, not to convince.” It has helped me in many situations 🙂 Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. Thank you for your kindness and your thorough response. Yes, we always need to let God be God. We can only doing so by accepting our humanity, accepting our weakness, accepting our role in God’s Kingdom. We do His will so He can complete His plan.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks again for a thoughtful and instructive post. What you brought to my mind was what Paul claimed: “If I have all faith but am without love, I am nothing.” Faith can move mountains or wilful souls, but they won’t budge if we are wanting in charity. The apostle himself owned that all his eloquence couldn’t convert anyone but only the grace of God which worked through him by his sacrificial acts of love. A former colleague of mine brought a Buddhist into the Catholic Church simply by being charitable and kind to her. When we debate, which I stopped doing long ago out of weariness, we are forcing our views on other people who thereby naturally become defensive, being possessive of what they personally believe. Our opinions are our beloved pets. Jesus told his apostles not to worry about what to say when it was time to bear witness to the Gospel, for the Holy Spirit would do the talking for them. He is our armour, as is the grace He pours out on souls who we reach out to at God’s appointed time – not ours. We must always be sure that when we evangelise that it is God who is taking the initiative. Often our religious pride can get in the way and impede the working of the Holy Spirit. Peter exhorts us to be gentle, patient, and kind – meaning respectful to others – when professing or sharing our faith.. Let charity and prayer be our armour in and through the Holy Spirit. Let us listen for His voice in a spirit of charity that signals the time to speak. After all, we aren’t trying to win a court case with the eloquence of a barrister.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You mentioned “Midwestern suburban father and husband, am also chosen” made me think about how God is interested in the average Joe. How amazing is that? God shows no partiality for those whom He chooses.

    As was said in Spiderman “with great power comes great responsibility ” lol and you mentioned that regarding the trials that come from living our faith out. Because we were bought with a high price, we should glorify the Lord with our lives. I like that connection: being chosen and living for Jesus.

    Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s