15th Sunday of the Year (b)
Sunday 15th July: Fifteenth Sunday of the Year. (B)
The first reading is from the Prophet Amos. He has to speak God’s uncomfortable message of conversion to a self-sufficient people which was only paying lip service to God. His message is forceful and clear.
The second reading, from the Letter to the Ephesians, is a great hymn of thanks and praise for the love God has shown his people.
Jesus sends his apostles out to begin their task of preaching and teaching in his name. They will do his work. He warns against being over loaded with personal and selfish thoughts. They must be prepared for rejection. The good and the need of the other person must be paramount.
Monday 16th July: Monday of the 15th week of the year.
Isaiah, in the first reading, attacks the people for the empty ritual and sacrifices they are making. He reserves his greatest condemnation for the local leaders who are corrupt. If they are corrupt, they cannot offer true worship to God. The intention of the heart is what is important.
In the Gospel, Jesus warns his disciples about the difficulties and challenges they will face as they go out to begin preaching and teaching themselves. The message they preach will bring division.
Tuesday 17th July: Monday of 15th week of the year.
Ahaz, King of Judah, was coming under increasing pressure to form an alliance against the Syrian armies and empire. Isaiah comforts him and stresses that if he remains true to God, theKingdom ofDavid has nothing to fear and will last.
In spite of all he said and did, the people still do not accept Jesus. We hear in his words how sad Jesus is that this has happened.
Wednesday 18th July: Wednesday of the 15th week of the year.
The Assyrian empire goes too far and destroyedIsrael. The king believed this was done through human strength and gave God no place in the kingdom. Because of this Isaiah warns the people that, because of their lack of fidelity, they too will be destroyed.
Jesus stresses that all he is doing is done in the name of the Father and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. We have received God’s call through our Baptism and we pray for strength to live up to it.
Thursday 19th July: Thursday of the 15th week of the year.
Isaiah presents us with a beautiful reading about trust in the goodness of God. A remnant will arise from all the destruction – they will be the new people of God.
Jesus invites us to go to him when we are weary. He is the source of consolation and strength for all who bear the burdens of life.
Friday 20th July: Friday of the 15th week of the year.
This is the last extract from Isaiah. He presents us with the account of the last king before the exile. He is healed through the prayer of Isaiah. This is a sign to inspire the people and give them a sense of wonder and awe at God’s intervention in their lives. This is the God in whom they must trust.
We are given an example of how the Pharisees put the details and letter of the law before its spirit. The laws of the Sabbath were very restrictive. Instead of being a day of rest to honour God, it was a day filled with rules and regulations.
Saturday 22nd July: Saturday of the 15th week of the year.
The first reading is from the Prophet Micah. He is concerned with injustice in the land and speaks out against those who plot evil and use their position to steal other people’s lands and properties. He sees ruin for them in the future.
The Pharisees are already plotting against Jesus. Jesus reaction in the first instance is to withdraw and move away from the hostility. He uses the image that would be familiar to those listening of the Messiah who will bring salvation to the people.
Lord our God,
You have given us yourself
In your Son Jesus Christ.
Do not allow us to be possessive of him
But help us realise
That your life and love are ours for good
Insofar as we are willing to grown in them
And share them
With our neighbour.
Give us this conviction and
The strength to put it into practice.
Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.