Daily Reflection
July 9th, 2000
Larry Gillick, S.J.
Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
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Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 
Ezekiel 2:2-5
Psalms 123:1-4
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Mark 6:1-6

We so easily identify prophets with predictors or with doomsayers, such as the “weather man” or “millennialist” who foretell the end of the world each time the stars align in some way.  A prophet does not so much tell the future as reveals the present conditions which could be better.  The prophet usually offers an alternative way to live as individuals and as a community. 

The Prophet Ezekiel gets his marching orders from God in today’s First Reading.  God gives him a personality profile of the people whom he will address and it appears to be an almost hopeless assignment.  God does comfort Ezekiel by telling him that whether he gets a good response or not, at least they will know that there was a prophet in their midst when he simply says the words, “thus says the Lord God.”

The Gospel for today pictures Jesus as a prophet returning to his hometown of Nazareth.  Not much of a homecoming do we see here.  His neighbors question His family of origin, and by doing so, belittle Him as not much to worry about.  They know His family, His background and so they do not have to listen.  They can not figure out where Jesus got this “wisdom” and how, “such miraculous deeds are accomplished by His hands.”  They can not explain it so they do not have to listen or see.  So we see Jesus leave and visit other places and people who could be taught.

Next week’s Gospel has Jesus sending out His friends as prophets whom He instructs to expect to be also rejected.  As human, we do not like, we resist almost every kind of interruption.  Phone calls, beepers, bells, knocks, drop-in neighbors and salespersons all break into our atmosphere, our time.  Jesus climbed into Peter’s boat, entered temples and synagogues, violated traditions and, in many ways, tried to get the attention of those to whom He was sent.  As John writes in the first chapter of his Gospel, “He came onto His own and His own received Him not.”  Guess what?  He is still coming to interrupt our ways of relating, acting, responding to life and to God.

There are many prophets calling, knocking, and waving to us, asking for more attention, not to them, but to God and to the specialness of our lives.  Children, students, the sick, the lonely, the imprisoned, the bereaved, the divorced and even the “preacher” are asking for more attention and attentiveness to our relationships with God and God’s family.

Who are the prophets of our times to whom we do not listen.  Who tells us how things are in such a way that their message disturbs us.  What of our lives needs a prophetic word?  Interruptions can be prophetic blessings.  What of the teachings of Jesus do we want to forget or for which we would like a second opinion or a rewriting?  Guess what?  A closed door or heart or world does not dissuade Jesus.  His knocks just keep on coming.  The real worry is for us that we too might be a prophet in a world that does not like our pitch.  Be very careful in joining in the Opening Prayer today, “Free us from sin and bring us to the joy that lasts for ever.”  That freedom will lead us to follow Jesus smack-dab into interrupting the ways of the undisturbable world. 

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