14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
St.John Vianney a French priest who lived about 170 years ago is the Patron Saint of all priests and reading his sermons often makes you smile in self recognition. In one he observes that “when things are going well or at moments of grace during prayer or when we need a favour or have just been inspired by the example of a holy person we will make tremendous promises to God – I will do anything for you, I give my life to you, make any sacrifices for you, carry the cross with you – but, he goes on, the next day a slight headache, feeling tired, a small insult from someone, a slight set back and it’s the end of the world. What inconstant lovers our Blessed Lord has to put up with.
A similar attitude which we can recognise in ourselves is in today’s Gospel. They see the wisdom of Our Lord, his miracles, they are astonished, but they find an unrelated reason to reject him. “He’s the carpenter’s son”. In the same way we recognise our Lord in the Blessed Eucharist, we acknowledge he is God and so we accept what he teaches us through the Church as true – but then we say I will obey tomorrow, today I am too tired, I’ve something else to do, Jesus doesn’t mind. And yet as the first reading today makes clear our call, in our particular walk of life is this “I am sending you to them – whether they listen or not they will know there is a prophet among them” or we might say “they will know there is a catholic among them”. All our words, our actions, all our lives should say I am a catholic. Your friends and family and work colleagues should know that there is no point in asking you to go shopping on Sunday morning you’ve got mass to go to, no point in asking you to steal, lie, commit adultery or break any of the ten commandments, ‘cause you’re a catholic. They should know that on Fridays you do not eat meat, that you say grace before meals especially in public because you are a Catholic. Above all they should know that Jesus is an important person in your life because you are a Catholic.
This may lead to opposition - from simple mockery to violent opposition. You may feel you are not holy enough to be always faithful, or clever enough to defend what you are doing. Don’t worry. St. Paul knew that feeling. As he writes in the 2nd reading “When I am weak – then I am strong” because as God said to him “My grace is enough for you – my power is at its best in weakness”.