To listen to Christ, stop and pay attention
Reflections on the readings for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 4, 2021): EZ 2:2-5; PS 123:1-2,3-4; 2 COR 12:7-10; MK 6:1-6
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
The Old and New Testament readings today remind us how often we do not want to hear what God has to tell us.
Ezekiel was called by God to honor and serve the Lord during the days of the Babylonian Captivity. Christ who is so much more than a prophet was not recognized in even this role by the people of Nazareth. They derided Him because they thought they knew Jesus so well. He was a neighbor, a carpenter. They knew his family. “Where did He get all this?” they asked. Our Lord offended them by inviting them to open their minds and hearts to His divine message of mercy. “Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.’ So He was not able to perform any might deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying His hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith” (Mark 6:4-6).
These people, among whom Christ had spent His youth and early adulthood, had already made up their minds. Yet He clearly had hoped for something better. These neighbors must have seen His life-long fidelity to their faith and to Almighty God, as well as His everyday integrity, generosity, and kindness. But none of this was enough. Now Jesus was just an itinerant preacher with a small group of unimpressive disciples. And so they let the opportunity to let the Son of God reveal Himself more fully pass them by. How often does our Lord invite us to recognize Him day after day? Whether through the Sacraments, through Scriptures, through the people and circumstance of our lives, He demonstrates His love for us and His desire for us to respond to His love. We tend to be so focused on our feelings and desires that we may not always give Him a chance. If we truly want to listen to Christ, we need to stop and pay attention. And then we will be able to accept God’s grace and embrace the Divine Will through our loving prayer and grateful service.