A Mayor of a certain town decided to hold a harvest festival. All without exception were invited. The Mayor offered to provide the food. To ensure that there would be adequate wine each guest was asked to bring along a bottle of white wine. The wine was poured into a huge cask from which all could drink. The day of the festival arrived, and every man, woman and child showed up. Thanks to the generosity of the Mayor there was an abundance of food. Each guest duly arrived with a bottle of wine and poured it into the cask. When all was ready the Mayor went to the cask. An aide tapped it and poured the Mayor a glass. Holding up the glass the Mayor said, ‘I declare the festival open.’ Then he took a drink out of the glass only to discover that it was not wine, but water. It seemed that each guest had argued like this, ‘my contribution won’t be missed.’ So instead of bringing a bottle of wine, they had brought a bottle of water. The festival was ruined. The message is to give 100 %. Followers of Christ must not only be receivers but also givers.
In the First Reading we hear how God chose Amos, a poor farmer, and a dresser of sycamore trees to go and prophesy in the northern kingdom of Israel. He did because even though there were already prophets there, they were not giving 100%. They had been distracted by materialism and thus had compromised their calling. Amos was chosen because God believed he was detached from the materialism of his time Despite the opposition and challenges he faced from the professional and paid prophets of the northern kingdom, Amos gave 100% to the task entrusted to him and was able to fulfil God’s purpose in choosing him.
In the Gospel Jesus sent his disciples out on mission with very little because he knew that focusing on what they had materially would distract them from their mission and that was to go out and preach the Good News. Having as little as possible increased the possibility of giving 100% to the task entrusted to them.
Perhaps we find out it hard to relate to the whole notion of being called and sent as outlined in our First Reading and Gospel today. The fact is we have all been called by virtue of our baptism. The Second Reading from the Letter of St Paul to the Ephesians reminds us, ‘And it is in him we were claimed as God’s own, chosen from the beginning, under the predetermined plan of the one who guides all things as he decides by his own will; chosen to be for his greater glory, the people who would put their hopes in Christ before he came’ We have been called. We have been chosen.
The only way the Word of God will reach the ends of the earth is through people like us who are willing to take our lives and live our lives seriously. We are sent by God to give 100% to our studies, our work, our home and family life and our Church. Like the disciples we are called to let go of anything that might distract us from the primary purpose of continuing Christ’s mission. Let us not make the mistake of thinking that our contribution will not be missed. God is counting on us.