Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) July 12 (Amos 7:12-15; Psalm 85; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13)
Hit the road, Amos, and don’t come back! That was the message that Amaziah delivered to Amos. Amaziah was a priest at the sanctuary of Bethel in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, but he was also the king’s man. He belittled Amos’ qualifications, calling him “seer” rather than prophet, and he forcefully invited him to preach in his own land. He didn’t belong to the right guild or have the proper credentials. But Amos insisted he was an ordinary dresser of sycamore trees rather than a professional prophet. His prophetic call was the result of a direct and personal call from God.
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) July 5 (Ezekiel 2:3-5; Psalm 123; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Mark 6:1-6)
Who could blame Ezekiel if he had refused the role of prophet? The job description did not sound promising or encouraging. He was being given a thankless task that was doomed to failure. His mission was to prophesy to Israel, which sounded harmless enough, but the divine voice painted a very unflattering portrait of the nation. Impudent, stubborn and rebellious are not words that would give one hope of success.
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) June 28 (Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24; Psalm 30; 2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15; Mark 5:21-43)
Death is the enemy that humans fear most. People tend to blot it from their minds and often refuse to even talk about it. It is easy to bury it under a layer of euphemisms, even as aches, pains and illness become more frequent and unwelcome visitors. But in the end, death comes for us — all of us without exception.
Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) June 21 (Job 38:1-4, 8-11; Psalm 107; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17; Mark 4:35-41)
Job found out that he was not God — and neither are we. The suffering and struggle of Job is well-known to most of us. A seemingly upright, pious and successful man was brought low by a series of catastrophes that appeared to have no reason. Job steadfastly maintained his innocence of any wrongdoing despite the advice of his “friends.” They all encouraged him to confess his sin against God — after all, if these things happened, there must have been a reason!
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B) June 14, (Ezekiel 17:22-24; Psalm 92; 2 Corinthians 5:6-10; Mark 4:26-34)
Human beings are competitive and love the feeling of pride that comes with achievement. They are also impatient — they want what they want, and they want it now, as the radio commercial goes. The Scriptures teach us another lesson — God’s ways are not ours, nor is God’s sense of time.
Trinity Sunday (Year B) May 31 (Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40; Psalm 33; Romans 8:14-17; Matthew 28:16-20)
Do I matter in the eyes of God? Does God care about what happens on Earth? Does God even exist? These and similar questions have tormented people for millennia. There never was a time when faith was untroubled and clear, and to think so is a sign that one lives in a fantasy world.
Pentecost Sunday (Year B) May 24 (Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13; John 20:19-23)
In every age and in every place, the Holy Spirit has been present, doing the work of God and advancing spiritual consciousness. One need but read Luke’s infancy narrative to realize that nearly all of the individuals mentioned in the run-up to the birth of Jesus were guided by and filled with the Spirit.
Ascension of the Lord (Year B) May 17 (Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1:17-23; Mark 16:15-20)
Acts I of Luke’s magnificent account of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus ended with the commission to the apostles in the upper room, the joyful reaction of His followers and the ascension of Jesus. When the curtain went up in Act II, Luke revisited the time between the Resurrection and the ascension. This time we are treated to a detailed account of what turns out to be a leisurely 40 days of instruction on the kingdom of God.
Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year B) May 10 (Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48; Psalm 98; 1 John 4:7-10; John 15:9-17)
Human beings have long laboured under the illusion that God is just like us, complete with human emotions, prejudices and ideas of justice. Fortunately, they are wrong, and God often demonstrates this in dramatic ways.
Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year B) May 3 (Acts 9:26-31; Psalm 22; 1 John 3:18-24; John 15:1-8)
Small wonder that Saul — later Paul — was feared by the Jerusalem community. They wanted nothing to do with him, for he had terrorized the community of believers in Christ relentlessly. By his own admission in his letters, Paul had hunted them down and arrested them, voting in favour of the death penalty at their trials.
Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year B) April 26 (Acts 4:7-12; Psalm 118; 1 John 3:1-2; John 10:11-18)
There is a rather cynical observation that no good deed ever goes unpunished. The incident in Acts seems to support those sentiments. No sooner had Peter healed a crippled man than he found himself under arrest and standing before the authorities to answer charges. He protested that they were merely doing a good deed and healing the poor man.