What we Were... What we Are
(15th Ordinary Sunday: Amos 7:12-15; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13)
The La Salette connection to today’s first reading is obvious. Amos says, “I was no prophet...; 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.”
The Blessed Virgin spoke to two children who were certainly no prophets. She took them from following their cows, and said, “You will make this known to all my people.”
The Apostles, sent out as missionaries by Jesus in today’s Gospel, could say much the same thing: I was just a fisherman, just a tax collector, just an activist. The Lord took me from that, he changed my life entirely. Much later Paul, not one of the original Twelve, did not hesitate to tell others that he had been a persecutor of the Church until his encounter with Jesus.
Put yourself in their sandals. What were you? What are you now? We have all experienced life-changing events, of course. Some, like faith, are fundamental.
Even for those who have been practicing Catholics all their life, there comes a moment when prayer, the sacraments, Scripture, etc., all take on a new, more personal meaning and importance; they matter as they have never mattered before. This is conversion.
It may take place gradually, but at La Salette, it tends to be more sudden. Many an unsuspecting tourist to the Holy Mountain returns later as a pilgrim. The confessional is where most La Salette miracles take place.
In the second reading, Paul reminds us twice that we are chosen by God. Both times, however, he adds, “in him,” namely, in Christ. As La Salettes we might be tempted to think we have been chosen “in Mary,” but that would be incorrect. The very heart of the Beautiful Lady’s Apparition is Jesus, whose crucified image she wears over her heart.
If we truly believe, and have our faith properly rooted in Christ, then we can give glory to God as he summons us and sends us out to prophesy, to proclaim, to make a message known. We may have been something else, but now as we are converted and reconciled to God through his Son, we can in confidence turn our attention to the mission, whatever, wherever it may be.
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.