15th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B
A DRESSER OF SYCAMORES
The first classical prophet was not a professional preacher. Amos labored as a migrant farm worker traveling throughout Israel to find employment. Among his jobs was that of tending Sycamore trees. These are not the European or North American variety, but a type of plant native to the Middle East. Sometimes called “the poor man’s fig tree,” they produce a small fruit encased in a husk. During the growing season these husks must be pierced with a sharp stick for the fruit to ripen. The yield was of little value. Despite his low-paying occupation, Amos was rich in prophecy. He was the first prophet to write down his words.
Live Off The Land
After having trained his apostles in his teachings, Jesus sends them on a trial missionary journey. He instructs them to be "free spirits" by living off the land and charity. They are not to carry anything that could encumber them in their work. Baggage is a handicap for a person with a mission. The very fact that they will be living by faith will be a sign to others of the efficacy of their message.
We also see that Jesus institutes the Christian sacrament of anointing by giving his apostles power to heal with oil.
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