Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 5, 2015
R. (2cd) Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 6:1-6
Homily— July 4 & 5, 2015 In the first reading we find that Ezekiel is being sent to the Israelites by the Lord to speak in God’s name and that they will “know that a prophet has been among them.” The reading suggests that the people would not listen to him despite the fact that he brings God’s message to the people.
Fr. Walter Brueggemann once described the ministry of preaching and prophesying as an audacious and risky act that is at once: 1) foolish, because in every congregation there are some whose ideological commitments preclude serious listening; 2) dangerous, because the powers of entrenchment are everywhere among us, passionate to keep things the way they are and absolutely resistant to change, 3) risky for the preacher/prophet who is, at best, vulnerable in the precariousness of the utterance. Yet despite these risks, Ezekiel persevered in a ministry that brought him great high points of intimacy with God and also great low points when he was despised and criticized by the very people his words were intended to save.
If you want to be transformed by the Messiah, the first step is to recognize the Messiah in your midst. This means being ready to encounter the Son of God wherever you are and whatever time it is. This means inclining not just our ear for God’s voice, but your heart for God’s presence.
An essential aspect to both hearing God & then doing God’s will is humility, for often God is speaking to us things we do not want to hear and telling us things we would rather not do.
This weekend when we give thanks & celebrate our freedom we also call to mind that it comes with a price. We remember those who have fought to keep us free & some have given their life.
We remember that freedom does not mean that we can do anything we want but that we respect the laws of God and of country for the common good of all. Our freedom consists in doing what is right in the eyes of God and of the Church.
St. Paul’s conversion from being a persecutor of Christians to a Christian leader was made possible through his humility, his willingness to repent of his past persecutions and to admit to a past that shamed him. The genuineness of his humility is seen most clearly in his readiness to go from persecutor to persecuted, to suffer all things for the word of God. Paul says he was given a thorn in the flesh so that he might not become too elated. The thorn in the flesh might have been a person who disagreed with Paul. When he prays about the thorn the Lord answers him with “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” If we follow Paul’s example we will try to have Christ fill our weakness so that we can have the strength to do the improbable.
While we might find comfort in knowing that Ezekiel, Jesus and Paul were ridiculed, and while we might find strength to persevere in a Christian lifestyle, we might also find a warning: Do we ever consider ourselves so superior to others who might be preaching the word of God by what they say or how they live that we prevent God’s work from being done just as did the people in Jesus’ home town?
A prophet like Ezekiel or like Jesus does not so much predict the future as discern the present. Let us give thanks for the people in our lives who have kept us grounded in faith and pray that we can be attentive to the Holy Spirit leading us today. Hopefully , our way of living will make people think, “He/she really does hear!”