[Ezekiel 2:2-5; Psalm 122; 2Corinthians 12:7-10; Mark 6:1-6]

It is amazing, how the people of Nazareth refused to believe in Jesus because they believed they already knew him. They believed they already knew him and knew his history. They called him ‘the man’ and believed because he had grown up among them that he was just the carpenter and the son of Mary.  Contrast this with people who, like ourselves, didn’t know Jesus when He was growing up, through faith we have tried to get to know Jesus. Only for us he is not the carpenter, and not ‘the man’ nor just the son of Mary. For us, He is the Son of Man and the Son of God.

Their lack of faith affected Jesus so much that he could work no miracles there.  For me this shows that Jesus was not a performer; the miracles of Jesus are no illusion performed by a magician.  For the miracles to work, the recipients had to have faith.  Jesus told us this several times after a miracle had been worked.  Go, your faith has saved you.

The readings today seem to deal with stubbornness and obstinance. In the first reading we hear how Ezekiel was sent to the Jewish people who had turned away from God. God wanted them to know that even if they did not believe or follow Him, they would know that there was a prophet amongst them.  In the second reading St Paul persistently prays for his weakness to be taken away from him but remember that God’s ways are not the same as man’s ways. God informed Paul that He would work through his weaknesses and turn Paul’s weakness into a strength. This allowed Paul to accept his weakness. When we examine why Paul was given the thorn in his flesh, it was to stop him from becoming conceited or too proud of the revelations God was giving him. Paul sees his weaknesses as a way God helps him to stay grounded, not to get too far ahead of himself.

Paul trusted in God, offering up his weakness to God. Are there areas of our life that we would sooner not have, something in us that we think prevents us from getting closer to God, a thorn in our side? Like St Paul can we view the weaknesses we have as a way of keeping us grounded?

There have been times in my life when I have allowed my inner demons hold me back. Fear can stop me from encountering new situations. Fear of rejection, fear of upsetting other people, fear of conflict. Fear is a natural feeling, gifted to us by God to help keep us safe, however, when we allow our fears to stop us from growing or developing ourselves or from helping other people than is that fear life giving? Imagine if the disciples had allowed their fears to stop them from living the Gospel? 

We are all called to take our faith out into the world and help others encounter Jesus. The dismissal at the end of Mass isn’t just some nice words pulled together to end the Mass, it is an instruction. Whether it is ‘Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life’ or ‘Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord’ or ‘Go forth, the Mass is ended’ or just ‘Go in peace’ all of these are all instructions which we are all obliged to follow. So, when we are instructed to glorify the Lord by our life, what do we take that instruction to mean? Or, when we are instructed to Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord, do we start to think how can I do that this week?

Today we are asked to use the gifts God has given us and be like Ezekiel, who took the word of God to places it wasn’t welcome. To be like Paul and not allow ourselves to be too proud or conceited, accept the weaknesses we have been given and allow God to use us for His will. To be like Jesus and not allow those who have an idea of who they think we are to stifle our mission to take God out into the world.

Further Reading

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 2581-2584: prophets and conversion of heart
CCC 436: Christ as prophet
CCC 162: perseverance in faith
CCC 268, 273, 1508: power is made perfect in weakness

Please keep in your prayers this week

  • The sick and housebound, those who are dying and those who are grieving.
  • Those seeking election, that they have a genuine call to serve their community and that they back up any promises they make with their actions.
  • Father Jean-Patrice that he makes a full recovery.
  • Deacon Tom Hiney and Deacon Ambrose Chou as they prepare for ordination to the Priesthood for our Diocese on the 13th of July.
  • Stephen Patterson and Zacharius Parambi as they prepare for ordination to the Permanent Diaconate on the 27th of July.
  • All those who established and those who continue to support the link between Bamenda and our Diocese which celebrates its Golden Anniversary this year.
  • The families who start the Baptism Preparation Course this weekend

Deacon Tony 29th June 2024