Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Unlike the people whose great faith inspired us last Sunday, we hear this week that the message of God’s love is sometimes met with rejection and disbelief. It is difficult for us to grasp the immensity of God’s great goodness. We cannot comprehend the offer of freedom found in God’s love. Ezekiel, Saint Paul, and Jesus all experience the rejection of the prophet who witnesses to this great love of God for us. Ezekiel understands that he is compelled to share God’s message, whether people listen or not. Saint Paul accepts that he is a weak vessel, and must bear insults and persecution for the sake of Christ. Jesus knows that the people are astonished at his wisdom, yet they cannot allow themselves to hear him. Unwilling to look beyond the child who grew up in their village, they are not willing to put their faith in him.
Weak or strong?
Is your faith weak or strong? Most of us have moments in which our answer could simply be “Yes!” Faith is not a once-and-for-all thing. Our faith ebbs and flows, along with changes in life circumstances, as we mature and grow in relationship with Christ and with one another. Pope Francis speaks to this in The Joy of the Gospel, when he encourages us to be open to an encounter with God’s love daily. In these encounters, like the one that the people in the synagogue had with Jesus in today’s Gospel, we may be astonished at God’s love and are invited to accept it. Weakness in faith is not always the result of some failure on our part. We may simply be at a crossroads, at which we cannot clearly see or understand what comes next. It is at such a time that we step out in blind faith with the assurance that God’s love awaits us in every moment.
Weakness and strength
The opposite of strong faith may not be weakness, but rather misplacing faith by relying on ourselves, our material possessions, or others. When we think we can do things on our own, we leave little room for God in our lives. When we develop a false sense of security that is rooted in material things, our trust in Jesus is quite shallow. Growing in faith calls us to rely on God’s great goodness above all things. When we open our minds and hearts and allow ourselves to be astonished at the love and life found in Jesus Christ, we realize that we do not need to rely on ourselves. Saint Paul teaches us a very important lesson about this in his second letter to the Corinthians, in which we hear, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”
Today’s Readings: Ez 2:2–5; Ps 123:1–2, 2, 3–4; 2 Cor 12:7–10; Mk 6:1–6