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14th Sunday of Ordinary Time 2015
Cycle B

First Reading
Ezekiel 2:2-5

As the Lord spoke to me, the spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard the one who was speaking say to me: Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, rebels who have rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have revolted against me to this very day. Hard of face and obstinate of heart are they to whom I am sending you. But you shall say to them: Thus says the Lord God! And whether they heed or resist--for they are a rebellious house--they shall know that a prophet has been among them.

Second Reading
2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Brothers and sisters: That I, Paul, might not become too elated, because of the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Gospel Cycle B
Mark 6:1-6

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, "Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him. 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 mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

My sisters and brothers in Christ,

One of the aspects of a prophet is this inward sense: I don't want to do it! So often we see the prophets of the Jewish Scriptures telling us: I did not want to speak to the people, I did not want to say harsh things, I did not want to be the one who said these things! This inward sense is important because it helps us identify a true prophet. There are lots of people who say bad things, who tell us what is right and what is wrong. We have to be cautious of those who like to be prophets!! To be a prophet of the true God is not a vocation that one chooses for oneself. It is always a vocation, we can say this, imposed by God on a person. Our first reading today, from the Prophet Ezequiel, speaks to this imposed vocation.

The second reading, from the Second Letter to the Corinthians, reminds us prophets and all Christians give their best witness when they are aware of their own poverty and their weaknesses. Evangelization is about drawing others to Christ, attracting others to the Lord because of the goodness of the Lord. Paul could be a fearless preacher but was always aware of his own past and of his present weakness. This is a man who had Christians put to death and now preaches Jesus Christ.

The Gospel today is from Saint Mark and shows that even the people with whom Jesus had lived for so many years could not accept Him. They saw Him as simply an ordinary Jewish man. They could see and hear that He had received extraordinary gifts of wisdom and that He could work miracles--but that hardly dented their rejection of Him as simply an ordinary person. They could not accept God dwelling in Jesus. Again, the prophet is rejected, the extraordinary work of God is rejected.

Part of what we can learn today is that what is divine and extraordinary and wonderful is often hidden in the ordinary of human existence. We are invited to seek the Lord Jesus in the poor and the weak and the rejected. Amen.