Pastor’s Homily — 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

JULY 11 – 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Amos 7:12-15; Eph 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13

I have been a vegetarian for about half of my life. And when I was a young priest, I used to say that I influenced more people to become vegetarian than I helped them to become Catholic. People were very curious because I did not eat meat or fish.

Now, many people are vegetarian. Three people on our parish team are vegetarians. When I went to the picnic of our parish charismatic movement yesterday at a home in the neighborhood here, I had a plate of vegetables and a bowl of fruit. It was completely natural. And I have not made more progress in helping people becoming Catholic.

We know in the United States the fastest-growing group are people who do not practice any religion at all. We are blessed here at St. Joseph with a full crowd at noon every Sunday and a healthy parish generally. But today we must all face the question of evangelization, of mission.

The teaching of Jesus is very important today in the Gospel. As missionary disciples, we travel lightly, we minister together, we do not argue with those who reject us, and we always depend on God and others.

Jesus does not tell us what to do in evangelization. He tells us how to live a Christian way of life.More or less, we all know what it means to be a Catholic. We know our beliefs, our sacraments. But do we know how to live a Catholic way of life? Do we know how to live with joy? With hope? With something distinctive in our personality that is related to our relationship with Christ? This is the gift we bring for our own fulfillment and to produce fruits for those we can help in their own journey.

Today is the feast of St. Benedict, founder of Western monasticism.  Many of us have no idea what monks actually do every day, but we know how they do it: in community, in simplicity, with a strict schedule, and as vegetarians.  Maybe we would never want to become a monk, but we respect the way they live their faith.  Our challenge is to create a similar picture for others.

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