XIV SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
ezekiel 2:2-5; 2 corinthians 12:7-10; mark 6:1-6
in 1960 religious persecution broke out in sudan. paride taban fled to uganda, studied for the priesthood and was ordained. when things settled down in sudan, young fr taban returned and was assigned a parish in palotaka. his parishioners always had white priests who gave them clothing and medicine. fr taban was black like them. he was poor like them. they would not accept him as a priest.
the story of fr taban is an example of the rejection every prophet encounters.
in the first reading, GOD sends ezekiel to proclaim his message; he warns ezekiel that he will meet with resistance, and challenges him to be a prophet regardless of the people’s response.
the second reading is an excerpt from a section called the «letter in tears». paul appeals to his beloved corinthians; they have betrayed him by shifting allegiance to the «super-apostles» who have seduced them with their eloquent speech. all that paul has is «a thorn in the flesh».
in the gospel, JESUS’ townspeople reject him. they know that he is «the carpenter»; and though they are astonished at his wisdom and mighty deeds, they refuse to accept him. they do not hear his message because they are blinded by their familiarity of him.
the word of GOD challenges us on two fronts: one, it challenges us to receive GOD’s word irrespective of the status/power/origin of the messenger. two, it reminds us that every christian, because of his/her baptism, has been called to be a prophet. we may be afraid; we may feel incompetent; GOD will work through our fear and incompetence.
will i discover and listen to the prophetic voice of GOD in ordinary and simple people?
or am i impressed by showy rhetoric but impervious to the grace that comes through weakness?
how will i, a simple and ordinary person, be his prophet?