Planning and Entrusting

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

AMOS 7:12-15

"Amaziah, priest of Bethel, said to Amos, “Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah! There earn your bread by prophesying, but never again prophesy in Bethel; for it is the king’s sanctuary and a royal temple.” Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor have I belonged to a company of prophets; I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores. The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me, Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”"

EPHESIANS 1:3-14

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth. In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ. In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.

MARK 6:7-13

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.

In this Sunday’s Gospel reading, we hear that Jesus sends out his twelve apostles two by two to preach the good news of the kingdom of God. As He sends them out, He orders them to take nothing for their journey, no bread, no money, no bag, they are to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics.

Jesus’ orders seem to be primarily intended for apostles, priests, those in religious life or the lay apostolate who take on as their mission in life to evangelize and do God’s work on earth. It is a complete entrusting to God of one’s material needs and reliance on God’s providence. Those of us who live a secular life tend to put in an excessive amount of planning into our lives. When we were young, our parents planned for us. They planned for our education and our upbringing. We then take over to plan for our own future, our career, our family and so on. We plan for our children, maybe even more meticulously than what our parents planned for us. Then we plan for our retirement and end of life. We are a loyal supporter of insurance and purchase a safety net for every imaginable disaster that can happen in our lives.

Surely we cannot do without planning for we need a roadmap for our journey in life. But as we plan, we must bear in mind Jesus’ advice which is equally relevant to us, people of the world “to take nothing for (your) journey, no bread, no bag, no money in (your) belts” (Mark 6:8). We must entrust to God as much as we plan and avoid the pitfall of focusing too much on our worldly cares. Since we are blessed “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love” (second reading Ephesians 1:3-4), our ultimate goal in life is our salvation.

“The Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps” (Responsorial Psalm 85:13-14). Would you be inspired by this beautiful verse to let go of some of the planning and to entrust more to His divine Providence?

Posted: July 15, 2018

Shiu Lan

 
Shiu Lan is your Catholic neighbour with a simple faith and likes praying the Rosary. With a B.Sc from the University of Hong Kong, she worked in Information Technology and Project Management before working with joy at home.


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