14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

In today’s Gospel Jesus describes the reception of his message in his home town as like that of a prophet: unwelcome. In Jesus we find the mission of priest, prophet, and king combined. As prophet he is the bearer of God’s message; in fact, he, as the Word, is the message of God himself. In sharing the faith we as Christians also have a mission to bear God’s message and make it known. That happens through sharing our faith, through teaching the faith, but also by the very fact of being Christian. Secularizing trends in modern society try to relegate Christianity to the private sphere, but the only way to really do that would be to lock away Christians, as sadly happens in some cultures today. In other cultures they’re culturally isolated: prophets in their time were seen as crazy, even weird, and definitely counter-cultural, because when God sends a prophet it usually means someone needs to receive a message they don’t want to hear, which is why prophets bore the message all the way to martyrdom, especially in Our Lord’s case. That conviction, combined with the fact that their message was true, ultimately stands the test of time, independently of whether the message is welcomed or not: as the First Reading reminds us, they’ll reject the message, but they’ll know a prophet has been among them.

Christian prophecy bears a cross: the cross that those we love and care about the most often seem the most incredulous when we try to share the faith with them. They might see us as holy rollers, or remember our times together with them before we started taking our faith more seriously and see us now as not really being sincere about what we’re preaching. It’s important to keep in mind something that’s fundamental to being a prophet: God is sending a message that people don’t want to hear. In being a prophet we can sometimes question whether if we’d said something more eloquently, done something better, that message would have been welcomed. Today’s readings remind us that even if we do everything perfectly, as Jesus did in today’s Gospel, because he can’t act any other way, there’ll still be incredulous people. Paul reminds us in the Second Reading that God’s power shines through our weakness: we just have to keep trying and not get discouraged when it seems there are no results.

Let’s ask Our Lord today to be bearers of his message in our words and our example, and to help us not get discouraged in our mission of sharing his Word with everyone we meet, especially the ones we love.

Readings: Ezekiel 2:2–5; Psalm 123:1–4; 2 Corinthians 12:7–10; Mark 6:1–6.