Our vocation is such that we are always first, called and then, sent. Two weeks ago, I argued that everyone is an enemy, whether we know about it or not. The readings for the Fifteenth Sunday of the Year – B (11 July 2021) are instructive.
The first reading was about Amaziah, who asked Amos to go away and prophesy in another place (Amos 7:12-15). Interestingly, Amos never knew that he was Amaziah’s enemy. He did not even decide to go to Bethel (where Amaziah ministered) of his own volition. God called him, sent him to Bethel, and he went. This was why Amos responded to Amaziah:
“I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees, and the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel” (Amos 7: 14-15).
As we carry out our ministry, it is easy to say we are Amos. But wait a moment. In context A, I may be Amos and in context B, I am Amaziah (even though, for some reason, I do not openly tell “Amos” to go away).
In the gospel of that Sunday, Jesus also called and sent the twelve in pairs. Since we are called, it means that it is the one who calls that chooses how to pair us. The bible did not tell us the pairs. Let’s imagine Peter and Judas were paired; Andrew and John; Bartholomew and Thomas, etc. Why were they successful in their mission, irrespective of their notable and even irreconcilable differences? They worked for the common good—carrying out the mandate of Christ (Mark 6:7-13).
We recall that Amaziah was a priest at Bethel (Amos 7:10) and Amos was a prophet. Therefore, they had different roles. For instance, Amos could not offer sacrifice exclusively reserved for priests. Thus, even if their duties overlapped, they could have comfortably worked together.
As God does not send a minister without a job description, so too the Church does not send someone without a job description. The duty could be to lead or to assist the leader. These two concepts are very clear.
I have argued that everybody is important. Yes, work together. An assistant may be better than a leader in more prominent talents or spiritual gifts. This should not make the assistant to denigrate the leader or disrespect him. Those gifts are to be used in line with the direction of the leader. A leader who is envious of an assistant so much so that he wants to suppress a gift that is useful for the Church is not being faithful to the mission of Christ. Jesus sent the disciples in pairs so that one supplies what the other lacks. No one has it all.
May God continue to help us.🙏🏾