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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Prepare the World for Repentance

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 15, 2018
Saint Charles Catholic Apache Mission Church, San Carlos, AZ

Today is another opportunity to praise God and ask for His mercy to help us live our New Life in Our Lord Jesus Christ.
In today’s Gospel (Mark 6:7-13), Jesus sends out His 12 disciples. He chose the number 12 because it signifies the 12 tribes of Israel, representing the whole people of God. Our Lord's coming fulfills God's promise to the Israelites that He would visit His people and bring true and lasting peace. 

The prophets of the Old Testament were called to guide the children of Israel toward conversion of heart so that God’s people would be prepared for the fullness of the Kingdom of God through Our Lord Jesus Christ. We hear of the Prophet Amos in today’s first reading (Amos 7:12-15). He is a shepherd called by God to speak to the children of Israel.

Now, as the 12 are sent out, Our Lord calls them to speak with urgency. They were to

take no extra provisions so that they would become reliant on the power of God and be His witness.

They were called to build the early Catholic Church so that it would faithfully announce the Kingdom of God until Jesus comes again.

Our Lord had said this world is ending and a new world is coming. Therefore, repentance and conversion are to be proclaimed everywhere so all may be saved from their sins and come to live in God’s eternal Kingdom.

In today’s second reading (Ephesians 1:3-14),  we learn blessings are in store for those who 
are saved through God’s mercy. Therefore, we Christian are to live in holiness in order

to prepare to live as we will in God’s Kingdom. 

Saint Paul says, “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.” He adds, “In love [God has] 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 our Baptism, we receive new life where we are to live -- not according to the ways of this  world -- but as God calls us to live in accord to the favor of His will.

My brothers and sisters, God has called us to be His children by adoption through Our Lord Jesus Christ. God invites us to become part of His very self.  Let us remember what God has done for us through His Son. Jesus suffered in the flesh so that we can be reconciled to God.

We received new life in God through our Baptism, but each of us needs to persevere in the practice of our faith. God has given us the most perfect way to be forgiven through frequent confession of our sins. 

After He was raised from the dead, Our Lord breathed the Holy Spirit upon His apostles and gave them the authority to forgive sins. This authority has been passed down to every
age through the ordained priesthood. I understand we do not have regular confessions here at Saint Charles, but if you would like to have regular times for confessions maybe on a Saturday or a day that you feel would be good, I will be happy to take time each week to hear confessions. 

It is also good for us to recognize and acknowledge our own weaknesses. What sins do we struggle with? What areas of temptation lead us to hurt the Holy Spirit that we have been given in our Baptism? Maybe we struggle with anger. Maybe we struggle with drugs or addictions. Maybe we struggle with temptations of the flesh and are tempted with pornography. Whatever areas we may struggle, God wants to help us. He loves us and has chosen us. He does not want us to hurt ourselves or one another.

I have heard that the Apache people were considered warriors in their brave battles in the late 19th century. I encourage each of you and myself to be warriors today not for
The Apache Christ on the Mescalero Apache reservation.
fighting earthly wars but to be warriors for our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us fight the good fight against sin with the help of God’s grace so that we may attain the gift of eternal life that Our Lord Jesus Christ paid such a dear price with His Life. 

For as Saint Paul says, it is in Our Lord Jesus Christ that we, “who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of [our] 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.”

My brothers and sisters, as we come together
Fr. John Paul Shea
to celebrate the Holy Eucharist this morning, let us open our hearts to the gift of life that Our Lord Jesus has come to give all who call upon His Holy Name. For, Our Lord has not come to condemn the world because the world has already condemned itself. Our Lord has come to save us from the condemnation of this world through the message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

May God bless each one of us, and may our hearts be open to His Grace and His Love. For God has chosen us! Amen.

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