18th Sunday Ordinary Time cycle B
August 1, 2021
In this reading God's people find themselves in the desert and they have run out of food and they are hungry.
August 1, 2021
July 25. 2021
July 11, 2021
For the next few Sundays, we will hear from several prophets.
This Sunday, Amos.
And then, next Sunday, Jeremiah
And if we look at their history, one thing they seem to have in common is that all prophets are persecuted and rejected.
Today's prophet, Amos, was called by God to speak to His people from 783-743 B.C. He was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamore trees, which meant he was a low cast person, called by God.
Who would listen to him? Yet, Amos knew that he was called by God to make God's Word present; that the people had once again abandoned God.
What we hear is that the head priest, Amaziah, at the sanctuary in Bethel, is outraged at the claims made by Amos; that Israel had abandoned God and would go into exile and the king Jeroboam II would be killed.
Amos is accused of not being a prophet, and as such, has no right to preach, and so is rejected.
Even today, we, as individuals and as a society, reject the prophets that come into our own lives. Whenever some event or person challenges us, or makes us uncomfortable, we fail to see God's part in this. Could it be God has given us a prophet even today? Perhaps God is trying to show us that we do not have patience, or mercy, or compassion, or love for the enemy.
We also need to remember that we too, at our Baptism, were anointed and called by God to be a prophet, priest, and king. We are to make God present for others.
Like Amos and the other prophets, we too will be rejected, persecuted, disliked. And yet, we need to continue to make God present to others, not only by our words, but most importantly, by our actions- our mercy, compassion, forgiveness, etc.
When Saint Paul finds himself in prison in Rome as he appeals to Caesar, he knows he has been called by Christ. He writes to the Christian Community in Ephesus. He encourages them to remain faithful, and to realize the great gift that has been given them, the Way to eternal life.
These words from his letter that we hear today, are also be important for each of us, especially in those times of rejection, persecution, giving up, etc. We are still called to make God present to others, just like all the prophets of old.
Jesus sends us out every day, just as He did his apostles.
It can be hard to comprehend just how much God loves humanity, and in every generation, wants us to have an important part in making Him present to others.
We are to carry God's message throughout the world.
For sure, God wants every human being to reach eternal life. And God uses us. Remember that at our Baptism we were anointed and called to be priest, prophet, and king.
...prophets (we are all to make God present for others),
...priests (we are all to make sacrifices for others)
... kings (we are all a part of the kingdom of God).
Jesus tells us, as He did the Apostles, not to take anything extra with us. That can mean, our ideas of how things should go when we are to make God present for others. We all know that rejection and persecution will be there for us. To the world of today, what we know as truth and the Word of God, is rejected.
We will be considered old fashion, outdated, uneducated, etc. Yet we are still to make God present through our living the words and teachings of Christ.
Pray to be up to the challenge
For each of us, it is the way to eternal life
You have been called and given the Spirit by God
This Sunday, not only looks at the prophets of old,
but once again, reminds us that at our baptism we were anointed to be prophet, priest, and king.
We are to make God present for others.
In the first reading, we hear from the prophet Ezekiel. He was among the first, along with the nobles in Jerusalem, to be taken into the exile of Babylon. Amazing, how God has given His Chosen People chance after chance to be faithful to Him, but they failed time after time.
Out of the eighteen kings that Israel had, a period of 400 years, only four remained faithful to God. Still God continued to call his people back to Him again and again. He never gives up on humanity and that includes us.
God will always call us back. But we still have freewill to say yes or no to that call. God will never force us to the call He has given each of us at our Baptism.
He allowed Ezekiel to be taken into the exile of Babylon, so that he could be the voice of God who would help those who had abandoned God and lost everything.
While in Exile, Ezekiel helped the people to understand the reason for the Exile; they had not been faithful to God. This exile, this loss of everything, was to help them to return to God. And later, Ezekiel would give them hope to know that things would work out right.
Truly, God showed His love, mercy, and patience with them and as He does with each of us.
Remember that we too are called to be prophets; not to tell the future, but to make God present in the world today.
At times, we answer this call to make God present to others by being patient, by being merciful, by being compassionate, by being forgiving, by being loving, even to the enemy and yes, even to those who do not deserve it.
But for our world today, to make God present can seem to be weakness. How can God be seen in my weakness? We don't try to be weak, but when we are, there is God working in our weaknesses.
For the prophets of old, they too experienced God's power in weakness.
Certainly, St. Paul experienced weakness in all he went through; the times he was rejected, imprisoned, ship wrecked, etc.
Saint Paul is not down because of his weakness, but learns more of how God works and Paul gets to the point where he can even boast of his weaknesses.
He says that in his weakness, God is made strong. What a gift to be able to see this in our own lives as Christians.
When we think that we have failed our call to be prophet, when we feel rejected, these words of St. Paul can be a help as we pray for our willingness not to give up; not to listen to the world that seems to tell everyone that only power and strength are the way to go, that nothing good comes through being weak.
In the Gospel, Jesus is rejected many times, and even as we hear in today's gospel where He is rejected by those where He grew up and knew him from His childhood.
That will certainly be true for us at times in our lives.
In those times of weakness, we need to continue to pray for the courage to be the prophet we were called to be, and to remember that...
"My grace is sufficient for you,
For power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12.9