The readings for this Sunday talk about rebellious people who fail to welcome the prophet sent to them by God. What does this say about us? What grace for us does that reveal?
Bible readings Ezekiel 2: 2-5 Psalm 123: 1-4 Corinthians 12: 7-10 Mark 6: 1-6
The youth of today…
It’s not rare to hear parents complain about the young people’s behaviour, complaints that are formulated like: “the young people of today….” You get the impression that whatever problem they may be complaining about, it’s like the problem concerns only the youth of this generation. In other words, it’s like adults consider the behaviour of the youth as being somewhat foreign to them. The supposition is that young people of earlier epochs are better off, in terms of behaviour, than those of today? But, are they?
Well, no matter the impression we want to give, Aristotle makes us realise that what we complain about in the youth today, were the same complaints made against the youth hundreds of years ago. It means, what parents denounce in their children today is probably what their own parents complained also about them. So, as we deal with the crises and illusions of young people today, let’s not forget our own in our youthful days.
And so, how do we go about that? What does this call us to? Well, the readings of this Sunday may have something to tell us.
Rebellious descendants and their ancestors
In the first reading the prophet Ezekiel is sent to the people of Israel, to tell them about their sin, and thus, call them to repentance. Not only the present generations rebel against God, their ancestors too did the same. That’s why God says to Ezekiel, go, even if they don’t listen to you; at least they will know that there’s a prophet. The disobedience that began long ago, continue to be shown even in later generations. No wonder, when Jesus comes to his home town, people find excuses not to listen to him. But how does God respond to that?
Faithfulness of God’s love
Even though the first reading talks about rebellious people, and the gospel about the lack of faith in Jesus for the people of Nazareth, however, we can’t reduce these readings to rebellion. Through them we appreciate the faithfulness and the constancy of God’s love for his people. Despite the rebellion which cuts across generations God has never given up onto his people, he keeps sending them prophets who speak to them words of life and reconciliation. Whatever the tone that it may take, the intention is not to condemn but rebuild. They are communicators of God’s grace.
And what kind of prophets are we?
There are no two camps, of prophets and that of the people. Together we constitute one community. At one time we are prophets who are charged with the mission of speaking a word to our sister or brother who’s erring. How do we go about that? Do we look at ourselves as spotless with the mission to judge and condemn? Well, before we dare to do that, it’s good remember that we are not only prophets. There are times when we also err and we have prophets sent to us; how do we receive them? Well, we can take a leaf from St Paul.
Look at such great missionary of the nations! Certainly, a prophet of his time! But, the Second reading makes us appreciate that this great prophet had a thorn in his flesh that helped him to carry out his mission with humility and in dependence on God.
Enough grace for each one, that’s the Good News
We too have nothing to boast about. There’s no need to look at others out there as sinful generation, rather, we look at ourselves as children, youth, and as adults; all together we form one community. And each one has a thorn in one’s flesh. All we can do is acknowledge our fragility, and thus, entrust ourselves to God’s mercy. Indeed, his grace is sufficient for each one of us. That’s the Good News.