Sunday, July 8, 2018

Jul 8 - 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time


+ This gospel passage seems timely; sometimes a preacher wonders what it might be like to return to his native place, his hometown, the place where he grew up, the church that he attended. This time he would not have the relatively minor role to play as it was in his youth, but rather this time, a central one, as presider and preacher and worker in various helping ministries. Would he receive the same reception that Jesus got? Would they shake their heads and say, “where did he get all this stuff?”  he is just one of the neighborhood kids, made big, a “big-shot” -  and is now home trying to show off! Or have things changed? Would it be different now? I wonder!

“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house!”  These are Jesus’ own words; and he could not perform any mighty deeds there, in his hometown, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith! Not just lack of faith in him, but apparently in anything at all. But maybe, the few sick that are greatly improved or cured are worth the effort of the one who returns – and makes it all worthwhile for them! And depending on the size of his family, he might have a lot of little, out of the lime-light kinds of deeds, that can be done that would bolster and help build the faith of the whole family at its roots.

Perhaps a preacher, priest or teacher ought to consider these things when making a home visit! The Lord usually works in small ways, behind the big scenes! If the Lord has sent any minister to bring glad tidings to the poor and sick: then perhaps it ought to be left up to the Lord to situate and place the minister where he wants him or them to be – realizing that for the most part, priest, ministers, teachers will not have the world-stage – but he could make an enormous difference in the small group that he interacts with daily in his local venue.

The second reading today speaks of the trust that the minister – wherever he may be – must have; trust in the Lord God to be his strength; and the trust involved in claiming and proclaiming his weakness and total need for the Lord’s help: for this is the only way that God’s power comes in force. God’s ministry must be done by God! Therefore, we, the ministers must get our-selves out of the way! We can then say and do things that we never thought possible of us on our own! God tells St. Paul that “in his weakness, his grace is sufficient for him, for power is made perfect in weakness!” This seems quite contrary, but it is a true and valid spiritual principle – St. Paul proved it over and over again!

And finally, the whole impetus behind Paul going forth, and ministers of the Gospel for generations after him, is because the rebelliousness of the human race is still rampant as we read in the first reading from the Prophet Ezekiel. And these people must know that a great Prophet will rise among them – and the opportunity will rise for each and every one of them to turn away from their stubbornnesses and sinfulness as a result of preaching and teaching of the ones sent to do it; and the lost will be encouraged to come home, the burdened to become unburdened, and the prisoners to become free!

Needless to say, the political cowardice that is rampant in our country today, and the imbecility of the person “in charge” and the ramifications that are already world-wide in the most negative of ways – rests in part on our shoulders – for we are all bound together whether we like it or not – we – who are citizens of heaven by our baptisms, must speak out in the civil arena, because our role in the public square is to lead the world to its own transformation into the glorious kingdom of God – when there will be a new heavens and a new earth.

And so, impelled by those who have come before us, and remain with us, may we fix our eyes intently on the Lord – and his Cross – pleading for his mercy! – and all will be well, for all actually is well!

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