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Realist Or Idealist?

He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs
Amos 7:12-15; Psalm 85:9-14; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13

Sermon Week Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 6:7

There’s a simple little test circulating the internet that promises to tell you if you are a realist or an idealist. The test prompts you to pair a word with a color. For example, you are asked to match the word FEAR, or PEACE, or EARTH from a gird of various colors. And at the end of the quiz, you receive your score — identifying you as either a Realist or Idealist. I took the test which seemed little more than a crass ploy to expose me to more ads. But I must admit, it got me thinking.

A well-known Christian preacher once met a famous Russian actress. “I suppose you are a religious man?” she asked. “Yes,” he replied, “I suppose I am.” “Aha!” said the actress, “you are religious because you are weak. You want someone to hold your hand. You want God to hold your hand.” The clergyman told the woman that she had it all wrong. And he gave her some examples. I don’t ask God to wipe the tears from my eyes. Rather, I want God to give me the compassion to wipe the tears from other people’s eyes. I don’t ask God to hold my hand. No, I want God to give me the moral strength to reach down and lift up the fallen and the outcast.

“Then are you an idealist?” asked the actress.

“I suppose I am,” said the preacher. Whereupon, the actress waved him away, saying, “I am a realist.”

“That got me thinking,” the preacher said later. “Am I a realist or just an idealist? Is Christianity just a beautiful idea, or is it real? Does it work?”

In today's Gospel Lesson, Mark tells us that Jesus “summoned the twelve, and began to send them out in pairs.” There, they were to discover if Christianity is just a beautiful idea or if it really works. “So they set off to preach repentance" (Mk. 6:7,12). This was the beginning of their ministry which, as we know, grew incredibly effective after they had lived through the events of the Cross and Resurrection and the coming of [...]

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