July 4, 2021
Son of man, I send you …
My grace is enough for you; strength is realized in weakness.
Jesus said to them: “You do not despise a prophet more than in his land,
between his relatives and in his house ”.
Reading of the Prophet Ezekiel 2, 2-5
In those days, the spirit entered me, raised me to my feet, and I heard him say to me:
“Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, a rebellious people who have rebelled against me. They and their parents have offended me to this day. Children also have a stiff neck and stubborn heart; I am sending you to them to tell them: “This is what the Lord says.” They will listen to you or ignore you, because they are a rebellious people, they will recognize that there was a prophet in their midst ”.
Ps. 122, 1-2a. 2bcd. 3-4
Our eyes are on the Lord, waiting for his mercy.
To you I lift my eyes, to you who dwell in heaven.
How are the eyes of slaves fixed on the hands of their masters. R.
How are the eyes of the slave fixed on the hands of her mistress,
so are our eyes on the Lord our God, waiting for his mercy. R.
Mercy, Lord, mercy, we are filled with contempt;
our soul is satiated with the sarcasm of the satisfied,
from the scorn of the proud. R.
A reading from the second letter of Saint Paul to Corinthians 12, 7-10
So that I don’t get fed up, I have been given a thorn in the flesh: an emissary of Satan who slaps me, so that I don’t get fed up. For this reason, three times I have asked the Lord to take him away from me and he has answered me:
“My grace is enough for you; strength is realized in weakness ”.
So I gladly boast of my weaknesses, so that the strength of Christ may reside in me.
That is why I live content in the midst of weaknesses, insults, deprivations, persecutions and difficulties suffered by Christ. Because when I am weak, then I am strong.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark 6: 1-6
At that time, Jesus went to his city and his disciples followed him.
When he came on Saturday, he started teaching in the synagogue; the crowd that heard him wondered in amazement:
“Where do you get all that from? What wisdom is that that has been given to you? And those miracles that your hands perform? Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon? And his sisters, don’t they live with us here?
And they were scandalized on account of him.
He told them:
“They do not despise a prophet more than in his land, among his relatives and in his house.”
He could not perform any miracle there, he only cured some sick by laying his hands on them. And he was amazed at his lack of faith.
And he went through the surrounding towns teaching.
Today’s Word of God focuses on an image, that of the prophet that, in Hebrew culture, in Judaism, has great relevance and a different meaning from other religions or cultures. What is being a prophet? Who is the prophet?
If we look in the dictionary, we find that he is defined as the person who makes predictions by divine inspiration, based on the interpretation of certain indications or signs. In the ordinary use of the language, a prophet is called the one who divines the future and announces it to prepare and protect his contemporaries.
In Sacred Scripture the meaning of him is much deeper. A prophet is one who, feeling God’s choice upon himself, speaks in His name, represents his message, testifies with his life to the authenticity of what he announces, witnesses an experience of faith. The prophet in the Bible does not announce himself with his own words and ideas, but, faithful to God, he only says what God inspires him; and not as a prediction of the future but as a light and guide for the present of the people and the community.
God, who created us out of love, who gives us life and sustains it freely, has always wanted to accompany us with his word, which is light for the path, through the prophets. Prophecy is one of the fundamental pillars of God’s revelation to his people, to men and women of all times, to all of us; It is one more concrete sign of his intervention in the history of humanity, of his kenosis, of his approach and descent, which will reach its culmination with the incarnation of the Word, Jesus Christ, the Word of the Father, the prophet expected of all the times.
In today’s first reading, from the prophet Ezekiel, we are told that the spirit of God entered him, raised him to his feet and said: “Son of man, I am sending you.” The initiative comes absolutely from God who chooses and calls whoever he wants and enables him to go and be his witness to the people. From this, the people will never be able to say that God did not speak to them, that no one guided them in his name and told them what to do.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus appears teaching in the synagogue of his town. With astonishment and a certain scandal, people wondered about the origin of the wisdom that he professed and about the power with which he performed miracles, because as a man they had known him since childhood, they knew who he was and what family he belonged to. It seems as if pride and envy prevented Jesus’ countrymen from understanding that God had chosen one of his own to be present. They lacked faith, both in the person before them and in God, who is capable of choosing and empowering whoever he chooses to make present his liberating word and his effective action. They preferred to continue “believing” in a “distant God” and that he cannot get close to us, that he is not relevant in the transformation of the environment that surrounds us, that he is not all-powerful. And that’s why Jesus said: “They despise a prophet only in his land, among his relatives and in his house.” And sadly, says the evangelist, he could not perform any miracles there, because they lacked faith.
The second reading, in the mouth of Saint Paul, helps us to understand that, in every prophet, divine omnipotence and human weakness converge. The prophet is not all-powerful but quite the opposite, fragile, insignificant, misunderstood, persecuted, suffering. And it is there and thus where and how the force of God is manifested. For this reason, the Apostle of the Gentiles goes so far as to say, who presumes of his weaknesses, so that the strength of Christ is manifested more and better and not his own, so that no one sets his eyes on him but on Christ through of the. We all know well the importance and relevance of this Pauline phrase: “My grace is enough for you; strength is realized in weakness ”. In this phrase the mystery of divine omnipotence, of his goodness and mercy, is concentrated, which continues to manifest itself and reach us through the human weakness of men and women, chosen by God and enabled by him through his grace, to be his messengers and witnesses. This phrase will always save us from the temptation to supplant God, to take his place, to allow ourselves to be overcome by the pride of self-sufficiency, by the arrogance of our own personal qualities.
On this day we have to realize again that God has not left us alone. God continues to accompany us and speak through the prophetic mission of the Church manifested in her ministers, and also in all the baptized. It would be good to reconsider which prophets the Lord has placed near me to illuminate my path, that is, through whom or whom the Lord is speaking and guiding me. It is essential to recognize the true prophets of God and not be guided by the false prophets. To open my heart again to his Word that comes to me through concrete people is to recognize that God continues to speak to me because he loves me.
On the other hand, we must also recognize that God calls many of us, as baptized or as ministers, to be his heralds and messengers. His Word, his message, is like a burning fire that burns us inside and that we have to share, witness, even shout. God invites us to announce his love and mercy to all, his Gospel. He also pushes us not to remain silent in the face of lies and falsehoods, injustices and abuses, and so many personal or social contradictions. Being a prophet in our time and context is not easy. It involves living in the truth and being consistent with the Gospel. Fidelity to God and to his Church implies assuming the risk of rejection, persecution, mockery, misinterpretation, even the sacrifice of one’s life. All this has already been lived and suffered by Jesus Christ, the Master, the Prophet of the Father. Living it and suffering it is an undeserved honor that God grants us, because in this way we become more and better like his Son, Jesus Christ, who voluntarily offered his life on the Cross for the salvation of the world.
Happy are those who did not see you and believed in you.
Happy are those who did not contemplate your countenance and confessed your divinity.
Happy are those who, when reading the Gospel, recognized in You the One they were waiting for.
Happy are those who, in your envoys, saw your divine presence.
Happy are those who, in the secret of their hearts, heard your voice and responded.
Happy are those who, animated by the desire to touch God, found you in mystery.
Happy are those who, in moments of darkness, cling more strongly to your light.
Happy are those who, puzzled by the trial, maintain their trust in You.
Happy are those who, under the impression of your absence, continue to believe in your proximity.
Happy are those who, having not seen you, live the firm hope of seeing you one day. Amen.
(Father Ignacio Larrañaga, Meeting 11)