The readings this weekend have to do with being aware that God does call us to carry out the mission of the good news in our world. Today’s first reading shows an unlikely character that God calls Amos who was a shepherd and dresser of Sycamore trees. Amos has not been appointed by the king and does not belong to a band of prophets. He lacks the formal authority, and, yet, he is God’s prophet. Perhaps the reason for this is Amos lives close to the land and the people. Amos is able to see the injustices and is unafraid to name them. This is our call as a prophetic people; how do we listen to creation, and especially those who are suffering, and do we raise up their voice.
Today in Ephesians we hear that as a community our call points to the future; that we are called to embody the Love of God and that we believe ultimately God wants to move all of creation to experience the fullness of God’s love, or, in other words, that our healing presence can participate in the wholeness God desires for all of creation.
The gospel today is an encouraging word because Jesus sends the disciples out to carry out his mission, not by their own strength and ability, but by the presence of the Spirit that has been given to them. They seem to even lack the material resources that would be necessary to carry out that mission. Part of what we see here is really a vision of the early church that as the disciples were sent there would always be members in the community that would have what they needed to carry out the mission. This reminds us that Christianity is not an individual endeavor but one that calls us to rely on each other. Jesus sent the disciples out two by two so that they would rely on each other. I can’t help but think of this gospel and the issue of immigration of people fleeing, often times for their lives, with only what they carry on their backs. Are we challenged, perhaps, to see these as God’s messengers to us? And are we open and hospitable knowing there are not easy answers? I think it’s good for us to remember how the scripture reminds us again to welcome the stranger who shows up as the messenger of God often in our scriptures. Perhaps it also reminds us that we are called as Christians to see ourselves as pilgrims on a journey to, by God’s grace, bring healing and confront systemic evil, not from a place of violence, which is a temptation even in Christianity, and not from a place of privilege, but in solidarity with those who suffer, recognizing that it is the empowerment of God’s love that brings healing. May we, like these twelve, recognize that God chose imperfect people like us that by the power of God’s grace we can carry out the mission. Let’s remember God does not call the qualified but qualifies the called.