Browsing Homilies

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ez 2:2-5 | Ps 123 | 2 Cor 12:7-10 | Mk 6:1-6

Our readings today are an excellent reminder of what God expects of us. God is doing more than simply telling us to listen to Ezekiel, Paul, or even Jesus. God sent them for a purpose and God sends us, too.

  1. When the Lord spoke to Ezekiel, the Spirit set Ezekiel on his feet and sent him to speak to rebellious people. Has anyone ever set you on your feet with a job to do? Have you ever needed to speak truth to power with or without encouragement from someone? Are you often the elected spokesman in your family? Have you ever had to state the hard truth, but with love?

  2. Saint Paul tells the Corinthians and us that he begged the Lord three times to relieve the thorn in his flesh. The Lord’s response was that his grace was all Paul needed to carry on, Paul said that he was content, was okay with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ, because when he was weak, then he was strong. How about you? Think of when you have suffered the kind of thorns in the flesh as Paul did, or any kind of suffering, whether spiritual, psychological, or physical. Did you beg the Lord to take it away? What have you learned from these experiences? Like Paul, have you accepted your situation and become strong?

  3. Imagine Jesus teaching in the synagogue in his hometown. The people begin muttering, “Who does he think he is to be speaking like this? Isn’t he a mere carpenter and Mary’s son?” His own people did not accept him. “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place…” Maybe you have experienced this. Remember how that felt. This could happen at home with your family, in your workplace, within society, or in any place in which we find ourselves.

All three of these persons had a mission from God. Being sent by God did not mean they would know amazing success. All of them suffered on their mission, even knowing their mission was what God wanted of them, what God sent them to do. They stuck with their mission though. Today we see them as successful but imagine what it was like to be in their situation. They were all true prophets. Prophets simply do not have it easy, no matter how good they are.

Consider Jesus: at this point in Mark's Gospel, Jesus is still early in his mission and came home with some of his disciples. In the synagogue he knew the people would recognize him immediately. That was a challenge. We all know what it’s like to stand up among classmates or fellow employees to give a report. There will always be some who disagree, are critical, or who think we don’t know what we are talking about. For most of us it takes courage to speak up in a situation like this. Like with Ezekiel and Paul, Jesus’ faith was the key to his speaking in the synagogue of his own town and people.

Our faith is tested as well. It’s not always as public as with Ezekiel or Paul or Jesus, but it is just as real. We often need to say “yes” to what is asked of us, and often that means dying to self. We might have had a difficult day in the office or at the store or in the field. We come home wanting to relax and unwind, but someone needs our help. We worked hard at making a special meal, but no one acknowledges our efforts or likes what we worked so hard on preparing. We worked so long on a paper for class, hand it in proudly, and later learn we had missed the point of the assignment. Accepting these situations, as difficult as it might be, is saying yes and dying to self. It isn’t fun. But with faith in God’s help, we can do it.

Sometimes we think having faith means we are always successful and might even be saintly. It may feel like that at times. But faith helps us to accept failure as well as success. Having faith can be difficult, especially when we think only in terms of wanting things to go as we want them to go. We must remember that having faith, often enough, means dying to self, and ready and willing to do what we can on behalf of others. In the week ahead, let us give attention to what God might be asking of us for the good of all Jesus’ family.

Ask for his help and it will be yours.


RSS Feed


Access all blogs

Subscribe to all of our blogs