15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Note: Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I had been compiled for you after the Mass Readings below. Happy Reading!
Readings at Mass
Liturgical Colour: Green.
First Reading: Amos 7:12-15
'Go, shepherd, and prophesy to my people Israel'
Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, said to Amos, ‘Go away, seer;’ get back to the land of Judah; earn your bread there, do your prophesying there. We want no more prophesying in Bethel; this is the royal sanctuary, the national temple.’ ‘I was no prophet, neither did I belong to any of the brotherhoods of prophets,’ Amos replied to Amaziah ‘I was a shepherd, and looked after sycamores: but it was the Lord who took me from herding the flock, and the Lord who said, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”’
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 84(85):9-14(Sun15)
Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.
I will hear what the Lord God has to say, a voice that speaks of peace,
peace for his people.
His help is near for those who fear him and his glory will dwell in our land.
Mercy and faithfulness have met; justice and peace have embraced.
Faithfulness shall spring from the earth and justice look down from heaven.
The Lord will make us prosper and our earth shall yield its fruit.
Justice shall march before him and peace shall follow his steps.
Second Reading: Ephesians 1:3-14
God chose us in Christ before the world was made
Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us with all the spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ.
Before the world was made, he chose us, chose us in Christ,
to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in his presence,
determining that we should become his adopted sons, through Jesus Christ
for his own kind purposes, to make us praise the glory of his grace,
his free gift to us in the Beloved,
in whom, through his blood, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.
Such is the richness of the grace which he has showered on us
in all wisdom and insight.
He has let us know the mystery of his purpose,
the hidden plan he so kindly made in Christ from the beginning
to act upon when the times had run their course to the end:
that he would bring everything together under Christ, as head,
everything in the heavens and everything on earth.
And it is in him that we were claimed as God’s own, chosen from the beginning,
under the predetermined plan of the one who guides all things
as he decides by his own will; chosen to be, for his greater glory,
the people who would put their hopes in Christ before he came.
Now you too, in him,
have heard the message of the truth and the good news of your salvation,
and have believed it;
and you too have been stamped with the seal of the Holy Spirit of the Promise,
the pledge of our inheritance
which brings freedom for those whom God has taken for his own, to make his glory praised.
cf. John 6:63,68
Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life;
you have the message of eternal life.
cf. Ephesians 1:17,18
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our mind,
so that we can see what hope his call holds for us.
Gospel: Mark 6:7-13
'Take nothing with you'
Jesus made a tour round the villages, teaching. Then he summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs giving them authority over the unclean spirits. And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, ‘Do not take a spare tunic.’ And he said to them, ‘If you enter a house anywhere, stay there until you leave the district. And if any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them.’ So they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them.
Acknowledgment: We thank the Publisher for allowing us to publish the Mass Readings to be used as reference for Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us around the World.
Homilies, Angelus / Regina Caeli
In the middle of summer, during our moments of physical rest and inner relaxation, we are offered an opportunity to pay greater attention to the needs of the spirit. Today I would like to emphasize in particular the importance of listening to the Word of God.
This, by revealing to us the horizons of the Lord’s love, will not fail to enrich the holiday season with a particular note of spirituality, that will lead us then to live our regular activities with a renewed soul.
Sacred Scripture is in fact “a pure and lasting fount of spiritual life”, and the “supreme rule of her faith” (cf. Dei Verbum, n. 21). It is like thirst-quenching water and food that nourishes the life of believers. I therefore invite everyone to cultivate a more intense and frequent contact with the Word of God, letting its healing and creative power work in us.
Perhaps life’s frantic rhythm often prevents many people from taking up the Bible as they would wish. Why not make the most of the holidays to bring it with you and reflect on one or other of its immortal pages?
Learning to read Sacred Scripture is fundamental for the believer: it is the first step of a ladder, which continues with meditation and, thus with real prayer. Prayer based on biblical reading is the principal way of Christian spirituality. Those who can dedicate the necessary time and commitment to it, gather abundant fruits.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 20 July 1997)
As I look at these mountains, my thoughts turn today to Mount Carmel, praised in the Bible for its beauty. We are, in fact, celebrating the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. On that mountain, located in Israel near Haifa, the holy prophet Elijah strenuously defended the integrity and purity of the chosen people's faith in the living God. On that same mountain some hermits gathered in the 12th century after Christ and dedicated themselves to contemplation and penance. The Carmelite Order arose from their spiritual experience.
Walking with the Blessed Virgin, the model of complete fidelity to the Lord, we will fear no obstacles or difficulties. Supported by her motherly intercession, like Elijah we will be able to fulfil our vocation as authentic "prophets" of the Gospel in our time.
Today's liturgy for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time urges us to make this ascetic and apostolic effort. It invites us to follow the example of the prophet Amos and the Apostles, who were chosen by the Lord to cooperate in his work of salvation.
May Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whom we call upon today with special devotion, help us tirelessly climb towards the summit of the mountain of holiness; may she help us love nothing more than Christ, who reveals to the world the mystery of divine love and true human dignity (cf. Opening Prayer).
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 16 July 2000)
The Church recalls, among other things, what I noted in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Ecclesia in Europa, that "Europe has been widely and profoundly permeated by Christianity" (n. 24). In the complex history of the Continent, Christianity constitutes a central and defining element, established on the firm foundation of the classical heritage and the multiple contributions offered by the various ethnic and cultural streams which have succeeded one another down the centuries.
It can certainly be said, therefore, that the Christian faith has shaped the culture of Europe, becoming inextricably bound up with its history and, despite the painful division between East and West, Christianity became "the religion of the European peoples" (ibid.,). It has also had a remarkable influence in modern and contemporary times, regardless of the strong and widespread phenomenon of secularization.
The Church knows that her interest in Europe is inherent in her mission. As the bearer of the Gospel, she has helped to spread those values which have made European culture universal. This heritage cannot be squandered. On the contrary, the new Europe should be helped "to build herself by revitalizing her original Christian roots" (cf. ibid., n. 25).
May Mary, Mother of Hope, watch over the Church in Europe so that it may be more and more "transparently open to the Gospel" (ibid., n. 125) and an authentic place for the growth of communion and unity, so that the full brightness of the face of Christ may shine out for the peace and joy of every inhabitant of the European Continent.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 20 July 2003)
Through a happy coincidence, this Sunday falls on 16 July, the day when the liturgy commemorates Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The slopes of Carmel, a high ridge that runs down the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea at the altitude of Galilee, are dotted with numerous natural caves, beloved by hermits.
The most famous of these men of God was the great Prophet Elijah, who in the ninth century before Christ strenuously defended the purity of faith in the one true God from contamination by idolatrous cults. Inspired by the figure of Elijah, the contemplative order of Carmelites arose. It is a religious family that counts among its members great saints such as Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Thérèse of the Child Jesus and Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (in the world: Edith Stein).
The Carmelites have spread among the Christian people devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, holding her up as a model of prayer, contemplation and dedication to God.
Indeed, Mary was the first, in a way which can never be equalled, to believe and experience that Jesus, the Incarnate Word, is the summit, the peak of man's encounter with God. By fully accepting the Word, she "was blessedly brought to the holy Mountain" (cf. Opening Prayer of the Memorial), and lives for ever with the Lord in body and soul.
Today, I would like to entrust to the Queen of Mount Carmel all contemplative life communities scattered throughout the world, especially those of the Carmelite Order, among which I recall the Monastery of Quart, not far from here, that I have had the opportunity to visit in these days. May Mary help every Christian to find God in the silence of prayer.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 16 July 2006)
In this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus takes the initiative of sending the Twelve Apostles out on mission (cf. Mark 6:7-13). In fact the term “apostles” means, precisely, “messengers” or “envoys”. Their vocation was to be fully achieved only after Christ’s Resurrection with the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Yet it is very significant that Jesus wants to involve the Twelve in his action from the outset: it is a sort of “apprenticeship” with a view to the great responsibility that awaited them. The fact that Jesus calls certain disciples to collaborate directly in his mission demonstrates one aspect of his love, namely, he does not spurn the help that other people can contribute to his work; he knows their limitations, their weaknesses, but bears no contempt for them. On the contrary Jesus confers on them the dignity of being his envoys. He sends them out two by two and gives them instructions which the Evangelist sums up in a few sentences. The first concerns the spirit of detachment: the Apostles must not be attached to money or to other comforts. Then Jesus warns the disciples that they will not always receive a favourable welcome. Sometimes they will be rejected; they might even be persecuted. However this must not frighten them: they must speak in Jesus’ name and preach the Kingdom of God without being worried about whether or not they will succeed. Succeed — its success must be left to God.
The First Reading presents us with the same perspective, showing us that all too often God’s messengers are not well received. This is the case of the Prophet Amos whom God sent to prophesy in the Sanctuary at Bethel, a sanctuary of the Kingdom of Israel (cf. Amos 7:12-15). Amos preached very energetically against injustices, denouncing in particular the abuses of kings and notables, abuses of power that offend the Lord and nullify acts of worship. Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, therefore ordered Amos to leave. Amos answered that it was not he who chose this mission but that the Lord had made him a prophet and sent him to this very place in the Kingdom of Israel. Therefore, whether he was accepted or rejected, he would continue to prophesy, preaching whatever God told him and not what men wished to hear. And this has continued to be the Church’s mandate: she does not preach what the powerful wish to hear. Her criterion is truth and justice even if it is unpopular and against human power.
Likewise in the Gospel Jesus warns the Twelve that in some places they may be rejected. Should this be the case, they are to go elsewhere, having shaken the dust from their feet in public. This sign expresses detachment in two senses: moral detachment — as if to say it is you who have refused the proclamation offered to you — and material detachment. We did not seek and do not want anything for ourselves (cf. Mark 6:11).
The other very important instruction in the Gospel passage is that the Twelve must not be content with preaching conversion. They must accompany their preaching, in accordance with Jesus’ instructions and example, with care for the sick, with caring for those who are sick in body and in spirit. It speaks of the healing of illnesses and also of driving out demons, that is, of purifying the human mind, cleansing, cleansing the eyes of the soul that are clouded by ideologies and hence cannot see God, cannot see truth and justice. This twofold corporal and spiritual healing is always the mandate of Christ’s disciples. Hence the apostolic mission must always include the two aspects of preaching God’s word and of showing his goodness in gestures of charity, service and dedication…
Dear brothers and sisters of Frascati. May you be united with each other and at the same time open, be missionaries. Stay firm in the faith, rooted in Christ through the Word and the Eucharist; be people who pray, in order to remain linked for ever to Christ, like branches to the vine. At the same time go out, take his message to all, especially the lowly, the poor and the suffering. In every community love one another; do not be divided but live as brothers and sisters so that the world may believe that Jesus is alive in his Church and that the Kingdom of God is at hand. The Patron Saints of the Diocese of Frascati are two Apostles: Philip and James, two of the Twelve. I entrust to their intercession the progress of your community so that it may be renewed in faith and may give a clear witness with works of charity. Amen.
Pope Benedict XVI (Homily, 15 July 2012)
Bonaventure wrote in one of his letters: “I confess before God that the reason which made me most love the life of Blessed Francis is that it resembles the birth and development of the Church” (Epistula de tribus quaestionibus, in Opere di San Bonaventura. Introduzione generale, Rome 1990, p. 29). These words refer us directly to this Sunday’s Gospel which presents the first occasion on which Jesus sent the Twelve Apostles out on mission. Jesus “called to him the Twelve”, St Mark recounts, “and began to send them out two by two.... He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics” (Mark 6:7-9). After his conversion Francis of Assisi practised this Gospel to the letter, becoming a very faithful witness of Jesus; and, uniquely bound to the mystery of the Cross, was transformed into “another Christ”, exactly as St Bonaventure describes him.
Jesus Christ is the inspiring centre of St Bonaventure’s entire life and likewise of his theology. We rediscover this centrality of Christ in the Second Reading of today’s Mass (Ephesians 1:3-14), the famous hymn of St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians that begins: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places”. The Apostle thus shows in the four passages, that all begin with the same words: “in him”, with reference to Jesus, how this plan of blessing was brought about. “In him”, the Father chose us before the creation of the world; “in him” we have redemption through his blood; “in him” we became his heirs, predestined to live “for the praise of his glory”; “in him” all those who believe in the Gospel receive the seal of the Holy Spirit. This Pauline hymn contains the vision of history which St Bonaventure helped to spread in the Church: the whole of history is centred on Christ, who also guarantees in every era new things and renewal. In Jesus, God said and gave all things, but since he is an inexhaustible treasure, the Holy Spirit never ceases to reveal and to actualize his mystery. So it is that the work of Christ and of the Church never regresses but always progresses.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 15 July 2012)
The Church is a mother with an open heart. She knows how to welcome and accept, especially those in need of greater care, those in greater difficulty. The Church, as desired by Jesus, is the home of hospitality. And how much good we can do, if only we try to speak this language of hospitality, this language of receiving and welcoming. How much pain can be soothed, how much despair can be allayed in a place where we feel at home! This requires open doors, especially the doors of our heart. Welcoming the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the prisoner (Matthew 25:34-37), the leper and the paralytic. Welcoming those who do not think as we do, who do not have faith or who have lost it. And sometimes, we are to blame. Welcoming the persecuted, the unemployed. Welcoming the different cultures, of which our earth is so richly blessed. Welcoming sinners, because each one of us is also a sinner.
So often we forget that there is an evil underlying our sins, that precedes our sins. There is a bitter root which causes damage, great damage, and silently destroys so many lives. There is an evil which, bit by bit, finds a place in our hearts and eats away at our life: it is isolation. Isolation which can have many roots, many causes. How much it destroys our life and how much harm it does us. It makes us turn our back on others, God, the community. It makes us closed in on ourselves. From here we see that the real work of the Church, our mother, should not be mainly about managing works and projects, but rather about learning to experience fraternity with others. A welcome-filled fraternity is the best witness that God is our Father, for “by this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
In this way, Jesus teaches us a new way of thinking. He opens before us a horizon brimming with life, beauty, truth and fulfillment.
God never closes off horizons; he is never unconcerned about the lives and sufferings of his children. God never allows himself to be outdone in generosity. So he sends us his Son, he gives him to us, he hands him over, he shares him... so that we can learn the way of fraternity, of self-giving. In a definitive way, he opens up a new horizon; he is a new word which sheds light on so many situations of exclusion, disintegration, loneliness and isolation. He is a word which breaks the silence of loneliness…
The Church is a mother, like Mary. In her, we have a model. We too must provide a home, like Mary, who did not lord it over the word of God, but rather welcomed that word, bore it in her womb and gave it to others.
We too must provide a home, like the earth, which does not choke the seed, but receives it, nourishes it and makes it grow.
That is how we want to be Christians, that is how we want to live the faith on this Paraguayan soil, like Mary, accepting and welcoming God’s life in our brothers and sisters, in confidence and with the certainty that “the Lord will shower down blessings, and our land will yield its increase”. May it be so.
Pope Francis I (Homily, 12 July 2015)
At the end of this celebration we look with trust to the Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our Mother. She is the gift that Jesus gives to his people. He gave her to us as our Mother at the hour of his cross and suffering. She is the fruit of Christ’s sacrifice for us. And from that moment, Mary has always been, and will always be, with her children, especially the poor and those most in need.
Mary has become part of the tapestry of human history, of our lands and peoples. As in so many other countries of Latin America, the faith of the Paraguayan people is imbued with love of the Virgin Mary. They approach their mother with confidence, they open their hearts and entrust to her their joys and sorrows, their aspirations and sufferings. Our Lady consoles them and with tender love fills them with hope. They never cease to turn with trust to Mary, mother of mercy for each and every one of her children.
I also ask the Blessed Mother, who persevered in prayer with the Apostles as they waited for the Holy Spirit (Acts 1,13-14), to watch over the Church and strengthen her members in fraternal love. With Mary’s help, may the Church be a home for all, a welcoming home, a mother for all peoples.
Pope Francis I (Angelus, 12 July 2015)
Note: This webpage has many hyperlinks to the Vatican Webpage. The above extracts were compiled for your easy reading.
This Publication is aimed to encourage all of Goodwill around the World. It is not for business or profit purposes but it is our way to thank our Creator for His continuous blessings!
Compiled on 15 July 2018