Saturday, July 04, 2009

Perfect in Weakness

July 5, 2009

Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

By Rev. Joseph McCloskey, S.J.

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. Ezekiel 2:4-5

“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. 2 Corinthians 12:9

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. Mark 6:4-6


“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place.” A saying that goes all the way back to the scriptures and Mark 6:1-5 when Christ taught in the synagogue of his native place is still true today. We all form snap judgments on people we do not really know and leave them caught in the first impressions we had of them. How hard it is to let people go on growing if we are not open to growth ourselves? We have all the encouragement in the world to go on growing in our knowledge of the good things of each other. Goodness generates more of the same. We might not be the most competitive people in the world, but love always generates the need of a reply in more of the same kind. Good example generates goodness in all who see with their hearts what is going on with another. Respect flows out of knowing the good each other does. If we are honest with ourselves we can be honest with each other. When I see how often a compliment makes me do better, I realize there can never really be a good reason for not acknowledging the good another does. When I realize that to call a prophet a prophet is to earn the reward of a prophet; to call a good person a good person, the reward of a good person, I can see the benefits that come from the genuine admiration of another.


It is all too true that negatives damage the world we live in. How long afterwards the memory of a listened to negative about another lives on! How hard it is to clean the memory of the negatives that live on with the smell of the rotten eggs of corruption in our world. The goodness of piety is its own reward. It makes possible so much more goodness in each other that we scarcely ever realize the influence we can have by good example lived in our lives with others. We can taste and see the goodness of the Lord. And it is true of the good people of our lives. Study of the goodness that surrounds us in life makes it so much easier to be a good person. Thorns in our flesh are hard to live with and we need to invite the strength of the Lord to replace our evil and our negativity. The hard of face and the obstinate of heart are hard people to work with if we do not bring to our everyday an apostolic plan to do something positive about the negatives of life around us.


A prophet is one that runs ahead of the crowd and is seen by others. The grace of Christ needs to be in our plan to do good and avoid evil. The power of Christ is made perfect in our weakness. Christ dwells with us when we put up with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints for the sake of Christ. When we face our weaknesses for the sake of Christ, we are truly strong. In the strength of Christ we will never be mere carpenters of Nazareth. It is Christ who sends us when we try to do good in his name. He is our Way, our Truth and our Life. Those who accept us when we are working for Christ, accept Christ and the one who sent him. It is our relationship to Christ in what we do in his name that makes out of our work prayer and makes us into Contemplatives in Action. Thus the Spirit of the Lord is truly upon us.