THEME: WELCOME GOD, IN WHATEVER FORM HE COMES TO YOU
I congratulate you upon accepting any validly ordained priest, whether he comes from India or Uganda, or Poland or U.S.A. You accept us as God’s messengers, despite our origins and weaknesses. You are not like the people of Nazareth who do not recognize Jesus as the Son of God, simply because he is one of them. God decides to be one of them in order to save them. Yet they reject Him for being too local, though they have heard of His divine works and teachings.
Jesus gives the reason that they lack faith. Because they perceive only the human in Jesus, they find it impossible to accept the divine in him. They do not believe that the Savior can be born as a carpenter’s son. Their lack of faith might have been caused by their envy, because a carpenter’s son has proved to be more powerful and wiser than they. Due to their lack of faith, Jesus does not perform the mighty deeds which he did elsewhere.
Like prophet Ezekiel (2:2-5), Jesus speaks to his own people, knowing that they will not accept him. But he knows that he has to speak because God has sent Him to do so.
Ezekiel and today’s Gospel text challenge us to perceive the presence of God in one another, to listen to the Holy Spirit speaking in one another, to have hearts that are open to one another. We do not expect to find divinity in one another the way in which divinity was present in our Lord Jesus, nevertheless we know that God is truly present in every other human being and yet we so often ignore that presence or even deny that presence. This tendency may prevent some of us from seeing Jesus even in the Holy Communion. Yet He is truly present.
God is always reaching out to each one of us. We need to be attentive and open to his grace. God can come through ordinary people with whom we stay or work or encounter. He comes in many different ways: “Someone criticizes us and causes us pain, but later we realize that we needed the criticism, that it was for our good..” (James DiGiacomo, Sundays with Jesus, p.69). “Keep on the lookout for Jesus. He may be coming to you in the person of someone you thought you knew. He is so close, you might miss him.” (Ibidem p.69f).
If someone, may be your wife or husband, or child or fellow parishioner, advises you and you respond with the phrase “Who does he think he is”! You may find yourself questioning God who speaks through that person. In Mk 9:37 Christ says: “Whoever welcomes a child in my name welcomes me.” And in Mt 25:40 He adds: “Whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine you did for me.”
According to Gen 18, Abraham was rewarded with a son for having welcomed strangers, who turned out to be God’s angels. Let us not have envy against God’s messengers. Let us meditate upon what they tell us and follow the truth embedded in what they say. LET US WELCOME GOD, IN WHATEVER FORM HE COMES TO US. In the Holy Mass He comes to us through His word and Holy Communion.
Let us have the courage to take him or his message to others, without fear of rejection. Let us be like Paul, who, after being stoned almost to death, for preaching the gospel, got up and continued to preach. (Acts 14:19-21)