14th Sunday of Ordinary time.

Fr Americo Santos

Today’s readings introduce Jesus as a prophet and explain how prophets and other messengers from God suffer rejection when we try to be faithful to God and His kingdom.

The first reading, taken from the book of the prophet Ezekiel, tells us about his call from God to be a prophet. God warns Ezekiel that he is being sent to the obstinate and rebellious Israelites in exile in Babylon. Hence, as God’s prophet, he will have to face rejection and persecution for giving God’s message. This reading warns us that, as Christians, we also may face indifference, hostility, weakness, hardship, persecution, insults, and rejection when we try to be God’s messengers.

Today’s Gospel tells us that the first reaction of the people in the synagogue to Jesus’ words was one of astonishment. But despite their amazement, they did not accept Him as a prophet because they “knew” Him only as a carpenter from a low-income family without formal training in law and Jewish traditions.  They also believed that a simple “carpenter” could not be the promised messiah because according to them the messiah needed to be a descendant of a royal and influential family. They expected a wealthy, powerful, political Messiah. They were waiting for an influential leader to liberate them from the Roman rule and re-establish the Davidic kingdom of power and glory of the people of Israel.  Besides, they got angry when Jesus did not do a miracle before them, and instead, He admonished them due to their lack of Faith.

Today’s Scriptures challenge us to accept rejection or indifference with patience, peace, and optimism. Our friends and families often fail to listen to us and refuse to accept the words of grace, love, and encouragement we may offer them because they are familiar with us. They do not see us as God’s instruments for them because they know us well and know our limitations and weaknesses. Sometimes, this could be sad and disappointing because we love and want the best for them. But we have to lead them to God, and we have been called by our Baptism to be prophets like Jesus in the Gospel, starting with those we love and see daily, even when they are not interested in listening and obeying us.

As prophets, our task is to “speak of God in love and charity” to others, avoiding fanaticism, non-Christian ideologies, or our ideas and desires. We have to speak in God’s name only with love and respect. Also, we often don’t need to say too much; we need only to try to live the Gospel in our lives to be natural messengers of God to them.

This weekend, let us acknowledge, appreciate, promote, and imitate the Catholics and all good people of our time who stand for truth, justice, peace, and love in our society with the wisdom of God in their heads, the power of the Holy Spirit in their hearts, and the courage of God in their actions. This world needs more people like them to be transformed into a better place for us. Amen.