Monday, July 02, 2018

Catholic Reflections 678 : Fourteenth Sunday of the Year B - Sunday, 8 July 2018

Homily Fourteenth Sunday of the Year B  - Sunday, 8 July 2018


THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
First Reading: Ezekiel 2:2-5
Psalm: Ps 122. “
Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.

Second Reading: Corinthians 12:7-10
Gospel Acclamation: cf Luke 4:18
Gospel: Mark 6:1-6

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Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Fourteenth Sunday of the Year B  - Sunday, 8 July 2018 by clicking this link here: https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/14b-faith-hope-and-love-ep-103  (EPISODE: 103 )
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When Jesus came to visit his hometown.... he got a very poor reaction...... People could not cope with him. Like all the prophets before him, he spoke the Message of the Kingdom, irrespective of popularity and even in the face of rejection.

Also, the people did not believe he was the messiah or anyone special, for that matter. In some ways….. Our Lord was too much for them...... But in another sense, "he was not enough for them".

“Jesus the carpenter? How could he be a prophet, let alone MORE than a prophet??? How could he be the long-promised Messiah? It cannot be!... We KNOW him too well! We have seen him growing up...... We know his family! There isn't anything special about him!..........” !!! ; (THEY WOULD HAVE OBJECTED).

They couldn't SEE anything in him.... he seemed too ordinary; too normal....and "not-special enough"...


So, in one of the most bizarre incidents in the gospel, we hear that “Our Lord could work no miracles there…. //(and then as an afterthought it says)… // He could only heal sick people! “ ONLY heal a few people???? You sure have a tough crowd when even the wonderful things he WAS achieving were not impressive enough !!!!!!!

And THAT is the beauty of this gospel message today......
 
Even in this day and age, we still can fall for the trap of thinking that the 'divine,' the 'special' and the exciting can ONLY be found in the 'different,'in the unusual, the dramatic and the new. SO we fail to see the wonders right under our nose… We don’t see the blessings and graces that are ‘hiding in plain sight’ (as the saying goes)

And yet, here comes Jesus. - One who was ordinary like them, who grew up in this same hometown next to them and performed the same daily chores as everyone else. He ate with people, worked, laughed and cried just like everyone else. What is so special about that?????
How can this 'ordinary' person be extraordinary...?.
In essence, they were saying: "How can the Promised Messiah be quite THAT --- HUMAN ?????!!"
 
“But, here is the true miracle...(the miracle of the incarnation… God made flesh - in Christ)… 'It is precisely in the exercise of all the virtues of ordinary human relationships; in trust, in acceptance, in patience, in faithfulness, that we too will experience the building of the kingdom, the power of Christ. ..... If we live our lives with faith, hope, and love then Christ, (who is God at work in our lives) remakes and refashions us in the image of God’s kingdom through the ordinariness of our daily virtues and actions….
 
Our Lord spent a lot of his ministry trying to calm people down... They put far too much store in miracles, signs and dramatic shows of power.

Our Lord even said in frustration: 'It is a wicked generation that asks for a sign...none will be given to it!" Jesus did not want people believing in him only because he provided them with miraculous supplies of bread and fish... or even because he had the power to calm storms, to heal sick people and to do exceptional actions that left them astounded. Rather he wanted them to learn about his message and learn about the ways of God and the principles of the Kingdom of God. He wanted them to truly live the gospel message in all its beauty, and in its inclusiveness, mercy, justice, practical charity and compassion. ......
 
The gospel was not about 'smoke and mirrors,' but about the divine that could be found in the ‘everyday’ of life...... His message was not about lightning and earthquakes but about the gentle breeze of God's presence in and through the ordinary events and people and actions of our lives...
 
This gospel reminds us to look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. - to seek the wisdom of God wherever it is found.... Especially in the unlikely and unexceptional situations (and people).
 
"These two readings challenge us today to perceive the presence of God in one another, to listen to the Holy Spirit speaking in one another, to have hearts that are open to one another. Although Our Lord was unique and his divinity derives from his very nature as the Son who is eternally one in being with the Father.... yet, Our Lord also tells us that God's Spirit dwells within us and that he allows us to share in the divine life of God...So, whilst we do not expect to find divinity in one another in exactly the same way in which divinity was fully present in our Lord Our Lord, but we know that God is truly present in every human being. Too often we can ignore that presence or even deny by our actions and attitudes that God makes his home in us.
 
Saint Paul, in the second reading, has a very different problem. He is SO aware of the divine presence within himself that he must concentrate on his own weaknesses in order to keep being attentive to his utter reliance on God’s grace and mercy and also the real needs and struggles of others. He realizes that his incredible spiritual gifts can possibly tempt him to go astray if he gets too proud or self-absorbed in the graces God has given to him. And so Paul focuses on his weakness and brokenness. St Paul has learned a very important lesson and wants to share it with us all… …. We tend to assume that the way to achieve important things in life is naturally under our own steam… By our own talent… and by our own personal strengths and virtues… But God says to St Paul and to us: “my grace is sufficient. My power is revealed in weakness.”

But what does it mean??….

“When I am weak I am strong???” … How can this be??……
For one thing, when we rely solely on our own talent, strength, and competence… (as good as that may be), it is easy to reinforce that ‘it is all about me. It is all about US.’ …. It is not so clear how this relates to God’s way of thinking and acting… Particularly if God’s ways are about love, freedom, mercy, choice, inclusion, and persuasion… …… Force and overwhelming strength and control have no place in God’s ways,…. The opposite of force is what looks like weakness to the world…. Vulnerability and grace.

When we experience weakness or realise what we lack… there is the opposite situation.
Our weakness creates a big space for God to work in us…. God can work wonders in the space that is not ‘about us’… but about ‘THE OTHER’…. Our “lack,” creates a space for freedom… which is one of God’s values…. People are free to listen or not. People in Our Lord’ time (and even in our time) want God to reveal himself in dramatic and powerful and obvious ways, but that stops us looking for God’s presence in the ordinary… in the people on the margins… // in those who are weak……

We might be tempted to think that something as important as spreading God’s word and proclaiming the gospel of Christ must require the best, the strongest, the most charismatic, and the most perfect of people???? And yet…. This is clearly not the way God thinks……

A quick look through the Bible indicates that God has called to serve him. People who were often notably flawed, confused, and even downright self-interested and sinful at times. And, many, many people who are now official Saints of God’s Church, served God despite some astounding barriers…. Many had physical, spiritual or emotional obstacles that would have seemed impossible without relying on God’s grace and cooperating with it. It cannot be a coincidence.

 
We can be so clearly aware of the teaching of our Lord in all of today's readings.
At a practical level, these teachings invite us to look for the divine in others and to be aware of the weakness and brokenness in ourselves. (Isn't it true that we so often can fall into the trap of doing things the other way around? ..... We can see the brokenness and sinfulness of others, whilst failing to deal with our own weaknesses, brokenness and sinfulness. And there is a danger that we can spend too much time searching for the “Divine” within our own lives and not spend enough time searching and finding it alive in those around us..........When we learn to see the divine in others and the brokenness in ourselves, we are ready to form with others the communion which is the Church, which is the body of Christ.
 
Let us ask our Lord today to send His Holy Spirit on us so that we may never fear to speak the truth (and speaking this truth always with love, compassion and always in order to build up the body of Christ), and let us ask the Lord to let us always delight in the goodness and divinity of others and may we continue to ask the Lord for the healing of our own sinfulness and brokenness."


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REFERENCES:
 
FR. PAUL W. KELLY

O'Flynn, S. (2002). Sunday seeds. Dublin: Columba Press.

Gutiérrez, G. and Dees, C. (1997). Sharing the Word through the liturgical year. 1st ed.
Maryknoll: Orbis Books.

Sandell, J. (2004). Seasons in the Word. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press.

Abbot's Homilies - Benedictine Abbey of Christ in the Desert. (2012). [online] Benedictine Abbey of Christ in the Desert. Available at: https://christdesert.org/updates/abbots-homilies/

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 [{selected psalms } - ***Psalm verses are (also) taken from “The Psalms: A New Translation” ©1963, The Grail (England), published by Collins.. **]

Prayers of the Faithful are adapted from Robert Borg’s 1993 book “ Together we pray”. Published in Sydney Australia By E.J. Dwyer. (out of print).

{ “Mass In Honour of St. Ralph Sherwin” -published 2011, Composed and Sung by Jeffrey M. Ostrowski
Featuring the….Gloria, The Creed, The Kyrie, The Mass parts, [[           - Psalms:
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May God bless and keep you.


Fourteenth Sunday of the Year B
(
Sunday, 8 July 2018)

(EPISODE: 103 )

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
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Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
Lord Jesus, you came to gather the nations into the peace of God's kingdom: Lord, have mercy// You come in word and in sacrament to strengthen us and make us holy: Christ, have mercy//You will come again in glory with salvation for your people: Lord, have mercy.
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
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Memorial Acclamation

We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.

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Sundays Ordinary V
Communion side. pwk: RH
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Go in peace. 

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