Homily for 15th Sunday in ordinary time

Homily for 15th Sunday in ordinary time

The announcement of the gospel with authority

By Joseph Guta – Major Seminarian at St Peter’s Major Seminary

In every society there are people with authority. Authority that is vested on them either by their wealth, good behavior, troublesomeness or rhetoric. The one in authority holds power to make things happen in a society- thus is able to effect change in a community. Through the Gospel reading today, Jesus Christ breeds new authority to his disciples. This authority being over unclean spirits.

The first reading, from the book of prophet Amos, Amos encounters authoritative question. The question does not give Amos choice whether to remain in bethel or leave- but to move out. The reason given by Amaziah is that Bethel is a Royal sanctuary and Kingdom’s temple. What is Amaziah opposing here’ is it Amos or the message which he is bringing to the king? Obviously the message! For he says “but never again prophesy at Bethel.” Amos only outlines his calling, by stating how God called him and where He called him from. Amos does not stipulate his calling for nothing, but he wants to tell Amaziah where he (Amos) taps his powers of prophesying from. Amos shows courage and authority over the Israelites who at the moment had turned away from God. The period was characterized by moral and spiritual decline and by social upheaval. Israel’s frequent attendance at the shrines to make sacrifices did not result in moral, spiritual, and social uprightness. The rich oppressed the poor, indulged in extravagant lifestyles, denied justice to the oppressed, and engaged in immoral sexual activities (2:6–8; 4:1; 5:11–13). Israel’s moral and spiritual decline, plus the social upheaval brought on by greed, contradicted their accelerated religious activities. Such were the times of Amos’s arrival in Israel with a strong message of judgment from God.

In the Gospel reading, Christ sends his disciples two by two to go out. He firstly gives them authority over unclean spirits. And later charged them with instructions on how to handle themselves and what to carry along the way. Authority that Christ gives to his disciples is the authority that requires acceptance and recognition of the one who is sent. The instruction that: take nothing except a staff entails a Shepherd: sign of authority over the sheep. One holding power and map which shepherd shall use to direct the sheep and pasture them. And the disciples did as they were commanded to do.

Like Amos and Disciples in the Gospel, we are blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Called and sent out. Given authority over unclean spirit as we preach the Gospel to all. Every person is called to be good, to do good and to help others do good. This calling has authority over unclean spirits.

Unclean spirits haunt, taunt and cause a lot of troubles in the society. They maneuver effecting sickness and immorality. They make sure, the powerful fall in disgrace, the good are laughed at, the prosperous become lazy and the strong weak. They cloud the minds making sure that: those in power use it wrongly, those that are free feel imprisoned. So many times, they break-free our minds causing us to do bad things, unacceptable to God. The unclean spirits make sure they also associate others- thus making sure there is a collaboration of the evil being done. They take us swiftly out of comfort zones into mess we shall fail to clean. With the human mouth; they create false stories, promise things they know they will not achieve and even cause bribery. Unclean spirits deceive us into short sweetness which is never sweet in reality. They make it point to present a cloth of envisioned goods which shall never come to pass too.

The power that we have, is given to us in order eradicate these impunities out of the communities we live. The power that should give us courage in times of depression and loneliness. We have the power to clean ourselves. To help bring good news to the aged, the poor, the depressed, the sick, widows, widowers and orphans. To help in bringing justice and peace in a community. To do charity. Through our own lives, people ought to see Christ’s omnipresence to them, care and love. This call is for everyone: the baptized, yet to be baptized (catechumens) and unbaptized. We must make it a point to clean ourselves and the community we have been sent to preach to.

We have been sent by God to announce his Gospel, how do we spread the Gospel? How do we react when all people go against us on account of the Gospel? Do we recognize the power that Christ has bestowed on us over unclean spirits?  Have we become agents of the unclean spirits or we have tried combating them? How have we helped those doing the work of God? Have we chased or welcomed them?

For with the power that Christ has given us we can effect change, we can make things happen, we can be courageous in spreading the good news. Amen