15th Sunday in Ordinary Time reflection by Kelly Amshoff

The Gospel message from this week’s readings reminds me of being invited recently to a wedding in the hills of Kentucky. The wedding was a weekend camp out with live music. The website itinerary was incredible… it included what to bring, what to wear, what to leave at home, where to park, everything. When I commented to my friend getting married that this was super helpful, he responded “We wanted to cover everything beforehand so you could show up and focus on what really matters this weekend.”
I believe that is part of Jesus’ message to his disciples this week. He tells them how to dress and what to bring with them as he sends them out two by two. Yes, it is minimal and they will need to rely on the hospitality of strangers, but He does this so that they can focus on what really matters… spreading the message of God’s love. Nevermind an extra outfit. Forget the food to pack. All of these extra steps weigh us down and keep up from what is important. 
Try to remember this message the next time you allow the little things to get in your way. Now that we are in a reopened world and schedules are beginning to become busy again, it’s easy to allow too much. Break it back down to the basics. Let go of the extra. Remember what is really important.
Within this Gospel reading from Mark, Jesus empowers his disciples to show up, just as they are. He sends them out to drive away demons and cure the sick in the same way that He would travel, the same way He would work. Within the first reading from Amos, there is a similar message. Amos was not a prophet; he was not technically qualified to be sharing the news of God, but he was chosen anyway. God chose him, just as he was: a shepherd. The only qualification needed was to answer the call. Are we listening for that call? How have we answered it lately?
The other night, I came home from work exhausted from a long day. I was a mess. There were dishes in the sink and laundry to be done. I needed to prepare meals for the next day. But my daughters, Bertie and Pita, came running up to me and asked for a bedtime story. They didn’t care that my clothes were wrinkled or that my hair had fallen out of my ponytail. They saw me simply as their mom, and that was enough. Answering the call to snuggle them for a few minutes was what they cared about. God is the same way… He calls us to come as we are and forget the rest. The rest will be taken care of, as long as we are listening and focused on what
really matters.