14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

First reading: Ez. 2:2–5

As the LORD spoke to me, the spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard the one who was speaking say to me: Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, rebels who have rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have revolted against me to this very day. Hard of face and obstinate of heart are they to whom I am sending you. But you shall say to them: Thus says the LORD GOD! And whether they heed or resist—for they are a rebellious house—they shall know that a prophet has been among them.

Second reading: 2 Cor. 12:7–10

Brothers and sisters: That I, Paul, might not become too elated, because of the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Gospel: Mk. 6:1–6

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

In other words

by Fr. Sonny de Rivera, SVD (Rome, Italy)

During a homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis referred to jealousy and envy as the seeds of war. Then he said we must be attentive because it is a worm that creeps into all of our hearts—all of us!—and leads us to misjudge people because deep down, there’s a competition: he has something that I don’t (aletea.org). 

Have we found ourselves imagining wrongdoings and faults of someone when there is none? Are we unable to say good words or compliment others for doing a good job? Are there people we know that we cruelly analyze with judgments and criticisms? If the answer is yes, then we have joined the bandwagon of jealousies which, according to Pope Francis, are criminals because they are always trying to kill.

Today’s readings depict the disrespect and disbelief shown to the prophet Jeremiah and Jesus in their hometown among their people. Although the people knew them and knew God sent them, they did not believe them. When Jesus taught in the synagogue, everyone started questioning where he had obtained the wisdom and power to do such mighty deeds. When they took offense at him, Jesus said: “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his kin and in his own house.” We know jealousy lurks in families, communities, workplaces, and religious groups, ready to pin down and pulverize its prey. Padre Pio, Sor Faustina, and St. Therese experienced the envy of their peers in cloisters and monasteries because they were well known.

The tricky thing to accept is that we are not usually aware that we have feelings of jealousy. We want what that person has, whatever it might be. Yet, the object of our envy is no better than us. Let us be honest, how often have we derailed another person in their ideas and plans? How many times do we take pleasure in discrediting someone to feel better about ourselves?

Let each of us ask why we cannot stand that person. Why do we not even want to see that other person? We often look for the reason and discover that it’s our imagination. God spares us from jealousy and envy by giving us the grace to see the reality of the situation. He invites us to look at ourselves.

To those who rejected Jesus, his response was that he no longer did many mighty deeds in that place where he was denied. It is excellent advice for us. If ever we experience being the target of jealousy, we should minimize or eliminate the very behavior they are jealous of when we are with them. This is called downplaying and becoming less visible. Although not easy we are better off putting the person more on our level and letting the person feel we are on equal footing.

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