14th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B


The first reading almost sounds like a reality check … The Lord tells the prophet: “I am sending you to … rebels who have rebelled against me … to [people] hard of face and obstinate of heart.”

Paul, in the second reading, almost sounds like he is giving us another dampener … another sob and sad story: “a thorn in the flesh was given to me … insults, hardships, persecutions and complaints.”

It is hard for me at this point in time, not to identify with both Ezekiel and Paul.

I feel like I am a little weak lamb in the midst of wolves.

But today, I need to be reminded. Today, as in all other Sundays, I need to be given a shot in the arm. And it is more than just consoling to note that even the Lord Jesus, when he went back to his own country, was given far less than a hospitable and warm welcome.

They doubted him. They could not believe that someone who came from their hometown could do wonders … “Where did this man get all this?” Indeed, in the spirit of resignation and humble acceptance of what is, Jesus uttered this famous line: “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.”

We live in a fallen world. We definitely are very much affected by the culture of sin – our own, first of all, and that of others. We live in an imperfect world. Yes … even the Church, although it is a perfect society in and of itself, is made up of saints and sinners!

Fr. Andrew Greeley had this wise counsel years ago … If you find a perfect Church, by all means, join it. But know that just as soon as you join, it has ceased to be perfect.”

But perfect or not (definitely not!) we are all called. We are all invited to become the best we can be. Despite all the odds, despite all the opposition, the prophet needs to do his part. Accepted or not, capable or not to make people laugh or listen to funny or boring homilies, the priest is called and sent to “raise a fallen world,” in obedience to Christ the High Priest and supreme Shepherd.

I pray today for priests. May they remain faithful in spite of so much opposition from a culture so full of hatred and bias against God. I pray for all believers, that they may listen to the fullness of Christian saving truth, and not reject those they don’t agree with. I pray for all of you who read this now, or listen to me right now, that, together, in the face of so much opposition from a materialistic and God-less world, we may remain to be what God expects us to be. “Fill your faithful with holy joy, for on those you have rescued from slavery to sin, you bestow eternal gladness.”

Through the same Christ, our Lord! Amen.