Reflection: 15th July 2018

A Reflection for the Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

MK 6:7-13 (

We all have memories of our childhood days, some happy and some not so. One of my better memories is of playing football, in a much-used, little field which was owned by a retired old sailor who had to use a crutch to get around. He allowed younger boys and girls to play in his field. The boys played football while the girls had their own games like skipping and hopscotch.

The boy who had a football in those days was the “head boss.” He called the others who wanted to play into the centre of the field; then he selected an older boy to be captain of one team while he himself was the other captain.  Each captain would call the players for his team one at the time, giving each a position such as goalkeeper of full-forward. Then the match began and was refereed by consensus.  However, the sailor who owned the field in which we played also owned the ball and would give it out to a different lad who would organise the teams. The sailor would sit on an old wooden chair watching and enjoying the boys doing what he could no longer do, simply play football.

For some reason or other, this memory came to mind as I reflected on today’s reading from St. Mark’s Gospel.  Jesus, having been rejected by the people of his own town and even by his own relatives, gathers his disciples and goes to the other towns of that region. Until now they had followed Him, watched Him and learned from Him.  Now He calls them and sends them out two-by-two to do amongst the people what they had seen Him do – drive out demons, teach and heal. Just as the captain of our team called and sent us to do what he could not do on his own – play football – “So they went out and preached that people should turn away from their sins. They drove out many demons and rubbed olive oil on many sick people and healed them” (MK 6: 12 – 13)

Jesus shows clearly that He calls people to spread the message, the Good News of the Father’s Kingdom, and that he empowers people and sends them out.

Are we among those people who are called? Would we allow Jesus to teach us and then empower us so that we could be healed and could reach out to touch and cure others, replacing despair with hope, anguish with joy, and loss with salvation?

Jesus may never have played football but he knows what teamwork can achieve.

Michael O’Looney C.S.Sp.  - Fr. Michael ministered in Brazil for over 40 years from 1968. He is now part of the Kimmage Community and part of the Province’s safeguarding team.