Welcome to Weekly Homilies with Father Mark Suslenko, Pastor of SS. Isidore and Maria Parish in Glastonbury, Connecticut, part of the Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford. I'm Carol Vassar, parish director of communications, and you're listening to Season 4, Episode 25 for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary time.: July 11, 2021. Our Gospel reading is from Mark, Chapter 6, verses 7-13 .
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick—no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.” So they went off and preached repentance.
The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
The Gospel of the Lord
“Living the Gospel” by Father Mark S. Suslenko, Pastor, SS. Isidore and Maria Parish, Glastonbury, Connecticut
So much has changed in our world since those original 12 were sent out to preach the Good News. They were instructed, very simply, to conduct themselves in an ordinary manner, and to proclaim the Good News to those whom they met. Having none of the tools that we have at our disposal today to communicate with one another, they had the very humble means of their lives.
It's interesting to begin to think about what that might have looked like. You know, we hear the Gospel view, which is really just a quick snapshot of what Jesus told them, but the details of their day-to-day comings and goings, we really don't have any reference to. It must've been interesting, some of the conversations they had with folks; the message that they were bringing to them.
Maybe they met people who never really considered the idea of God. Or if they had, they had a very narrow impression of who God is. And so hearing that God is love calling us to eternal life, calling us to care for one another, calling us to be his presence in the world, was a refreshing good news to them that lifted them up and gave them something new and exciting to embark upon.
But then I'm sure others who had similar conversations with them found what they were saying a bit too challenging, and simply dismiss them, fearful of changing the way they're conducting the business of their lives and moving in another direction. Maybe their example stirred faith in people; how they conducted themselves, how they presented themselves, had a positive impact on those they met. Regardless of the particulars, however, some amazing things happened in a very short amount of time. When you consider the bigger picture of Christianity, the spreading of the Good News and how rapidly that really developed and look at the impact that a small group, started with humble means, had on the world. It's certainly a testimony to the work of the Holy Spirit when we open ourselves to God and allow ourselves to be used. And that truly is each one of our missions: to allow ourselves to be used. We're not here for our own purpose, but we're here to be proclaimers of the Word, proclaimers of God, proclaimers of the Gospel. We're called to be Christ out in the world, and that's a challenge today. It's difficult today. It's difficult to bring Christ into the workplace. It's difficult to bring Christ into our schools, into our relationship with our friends. It's difficult to bring the values of the Gospel to a very secular, secular world that really wants to live in a much different way.
And so we face a lot of that same rejection today that those original disciples faced as they were out preaching this Good News, but it all boils down to two things really for us. And that's to take our faith from the church out into the world in two very significant ways, two very significant ways. And it's hard to do.
The first way by the example of our lives; by the example of our lives. How we live is going to speak volumes to others about what we believe. What people see us doing, how they see us resolving problems, how they see us dealing with someone who has heard us, how they see us loving others, how they see us forgiving others, how they see us putting ourselves aside for a greater good is all going to impress others and speak of the Gospel. The example of our lives.
Secondly, the conversations that we have. You know, we don't have to be religious fanatics in order to be proclaimers of the Gospel. All we have to do is be centered, grounded and focused in a few convictions about who we are and who God is. Because after all, at the essence of the Gospel, it's all about our relationships: getting our relationship with God straight, getting our relationship with ourselves straight, and getting our relationships with one another straight, and getting our relationship with the world straight.
And so we can have conversations with folks about who they are, how they see themselves, what gives them meaning, what gives them direction, what gives them purpose, what makes sense out of their lives? That's the Good News: that they're not here just to go through the motions of being a human being, but we're here for a greater purpose. That there's something more to which we are called. We can have those conversations with folks. And so many of them are hungry for that depth, that meaning, that direction.
And so, we all can ask ourselves two very simple questions. I can't tell you how to answer them. We all have to do that in our own way, but the questions remained the same. The first, what does the example of our lives say to others? What does the example of our lives say to others? And what do our conversations that we have with folks reveal about us in our relationship with God? What do our conversations with folks reveal about ourselves and our relationship with God?
If we can tweak both of those things just a little bit more in conformity with the Gospel, the Holy Spirit will use us in the same way that he used those original folks to do miraculous things in a world that is hurting to receive good news and a message of hope, a message of love, but more importantly, a message of faith, all of which are at the heart of the Gospel.
Father Mark Suslenko is the pastor of SS. Isidore and Maria Parish in Glastonbury, Connecticut. Learn more about our parish community www.isidoreandmaria.org. And follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Our music comes free of charge from Blue Dot Sessions in Fall River, Massachusetts. I’m Carol Vassar. Thanks for joining us.