Certainly, The Grace of God Is Sufficient For Us!
Readings: 1st: Ezek 2, 2-5; Ps 122; 2nd: 2Cor 12, 710; Gos Mk 6: 1-6
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working at the Sanctuario del Espiritu Santo, en Dorado, Puerto Rico, del Internacional Grupo Espiritano De Puerto Rico – Republica Dominicana. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
On this fourteenth Sunday of ordinary time, we reflect and rejoice in the spirit of prophecy and faithful witness to Christ. Even though, the exercise of this mission does not bring us honour, comfort, and recognition, we must continue to exercise it. This is because, even in our weakness, the grace of God is sufficient for us, and makes us strong.
As I reflected over today’s readings I recalled with a great sense of pride and satisfaction an encounter I had with a young lady sometime ago. Simply because, I admonished her for acting wrongly, she turned to me and said: “Enough Pastor! Do you think you can change me or, that you know the bible more than I do?” The good news is that after a few days, she came to apologize and promised to be a better Christian. Surely, she is doing well today. We encounter such rough, insulting and discouraging responses every day as ministers and prophets. Yet, God continues to tell us today: “You must be ready to accept more discomfort for my sake, the gospel and, the good of your generation.”
Like Ezekiel, each one of us as a Christian has a mission from God. The question could be: Where is this mission? Quite simple! There is mission everywhere right now. There is mission in our decaying and rebellious generation, in our brothers and sisters, in our families, in our communities, and in our world at large. There is much rebellion in our time against God, against nature, against divine institutions, and against the fabrics of our moral and cultural heritage. So, God speaks to us today as he spoke to Ezekiel in our first reading: “Son of man, I am sending you… to the rebels who have turned against me.”
In the second reading of today, what Paul is describing is the burden placed upon him by the gospel he preached. This burden was like a thorn in his flesh. Unfortunately, the only condition for this burden to leave him was that he must continue like Ezekiel to speak out against evil and, to bear faithful witness to Christ. For us too, unless we have this burden garnished with zeal, we cannot achieve anything and, it will remain ever heavy upon us. Paul identified these burdens as: “insult, hardships, persecutions and agonies.”
Unfortunately, again, these are things we do not want because, we want to remain comfortable. So, we prefer to say: “Please, let the sleeping dog lie, so that I can, have my peace.” I do not want any to insult or, to hurt anybody. I do not want to lose him or her because he or she is so dear to me. God saw this same fear in Jeremiah and said to him: “Get ready Jeremiah; go and tell them everything I command you to say. Do not be afraid of them or I will make you even more afraid of them” (Jer 1, 17). My dear, these are burdens we must bear as Christians if our society must be safe. We must not be afraid because the grace of God is sufficient for us. So, if we are willing, God will fill us with this grace always.
In the gospel, Jesus was filled with this grace and spoke fearlessly. Of course, he got his own share of insults. They ridiculed him, called him names like: “the son of a mere carpenter and a wretched woman. They called him an illiterate, and a rebel. In spite of all these, he was not discouraged. Instead, he continued to preach and heal his generation. My dear, if you have not got your own “trade mark” on behalf of the gospel you have not started. You are still in your comfort zone. Come out boldly and receive it like Ezekiel, Paul, and Christ, for the good of your generation. We must not be afraid to take up our ministries in spite of these burdens. We have to bear them patiently so that good might triumph over evil and, truth over lie and, peace over war. The truth is that, until every rebellion against the Lord is crushed, our world will not be safe. Let us humbly pray: “Our eyes are on the lord, till he shows us mercy!”
Peace be with you!!