14th sunday in ordinary time
4th July 2021
Year B – Psalter week 2
As I was preparing this reflection to share with you, it was the day before what was then the upcoming England v Germany Euro 2020 football match. On the news earlier the reporter did the usual thing of stopping and chatting to fans on their way to the game, and then asking them what they thought the result would be. Of course, all predicted an England win, but I don’t think this was always based completely on the previous quality or form of either England or Germany, but much more on their faith in the team. They believed in the team, they wanted them to win and be successful and even felt that their support could help in a small way to make it happen. England were on home soil, with a home crowd passionately willing them on to achieve great things.
In our Gospel today, Jesus himself is also on home soil with a home crowd, some of whom would have know him since he was young. We hear described, what was very lightly to have been the typical pattern of Jesus’ ministry: time spent reading and teaching in the local synagogue followed by miracle acts of healing of mind and body for those in need. In this, his hometown of Nazareth, the people in the synagogue that day, as in every other town and village were amazed by what they heard, at his wisdom and the miracles he certainly performed, but this day the most important ingredient was missing. They did not believe in him and had no faith in him, because they thought they knew who he was and could not comprehend how someone they know so well, or thought they did, could be so great and could act so powerfully.
It is extremely easy for us also, like the Nazarenes, to be influenced by what we see and hear around us, and to then form an opinion about others based on what we perceive to be true, or what others think or say. This then affects all our interactions with another person or situation and our relationship with them. All our relationships need work, they need patience and understanding and most especially our relationship with God, so that we can recognise him at work in our lives and place our trust in him.
To build a relationship with God, and to learn about his love for us and the message of salvation, the Church guides us in essentially four ways.
Firstly, we have Apostolic Tradition – we have the lives and example of the apostles themselves, those who knew and learnt directly from Jesus himself when on earth. He taught them, guided them, and even corrected them and so we can learn from them.
We also have the scriptures, the old and new testaments which tell the story of God’s revelation of himself to mankind and culminate in the resurrection of Jesus so that we can all have eternal life.
We then have the teaching and knowledge of the Church fathers to guide and to help us in our understanding.
But the fourth element is possibly the most important and ties everything else together. We need faith. (Like all good England supporters)
Faith is not merely the acceptance of something to be true, or an understanding of a set of guidelines. It is so much more —
- It is not just what we hear and learn, it’s what we feel –
- It is about us trusting in God and his great love for us in every aspect of our lives –
- It is about knowing that he absolutely loves us and wants the best for us and is supremely merciful –
- It is about completely relying on him when life challenges us and those we love –
- It is about not judging any person or situation, but allowing ourselves to be guided by the will of God as he makes known to us his plan for our lives –
- It is about allowing Jesus to perform his miracles and to teach us and to lead us to where he wants us to be.
It is the essence of our relationship with God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
With faith, the people of Nazareth would have welcomed Jesus and been healed in mind and body and strengthened by him. They would have seen Jesus for who he really is, the Son of God, they would have wanted him to achieve great things.
In the same way, if we place our faith in God, this allows us to see who he really is, and allows him to work powerfully in our lives and to guide us.
We have already shown faith by being here or watching mass today; this week, let us try to grow in faith by trusting everything to God, who tells us that faith the size of a ‘mustard seed’ is enough to move a mountain.
These rebels shall know that there is a prophet among them
Psalm 122 (123)
Our eyes are on the Lord till he shows us his mercy
2 corinthians 12:7-10
The Lord’s power is at its best in weakness
‘A prophet is only despised in his own country’
Sunday Message and Look
The Word was made flesh and lived among us:
to all who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God.