Reluctant Prophets

July 4, 2021 – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/070421.cfm)

The gospel we have just heard and proclaimed to us is the Good News of our Salvation. However, there is something disturbing about our gospel today that may make us wonder and even suspect whether it is really Good News. 

Because as it is narrated to us, our gospel today basically tells us how Jesus was rejected in his own country. Yes, here we heard how Jesus was despised in his own country and by his own people. It describes to us that while he continued His Mission to preach the Good News for all & everybody, and as he preached the Good News particularly in own hometown, Jesus experienced humiliation. He suffered persecutions and rejection in his own country and by his own people “sano” that, in effect, made it difficult for him to continue his work of salvation. Because of this experience, Jesus said: “Prophets are not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house”. Good news has been preached and shared, miracles has been revealed and accomplished already, but were all rejected and wasted by his very Own people. Good new as it may be, our gospel today is certainly disturbing as well.

Now, is it true that a prophet is not without honor except in his own home? Is a prophet honorable except in his own house and his own family? Experience tells us there is truth in this. Based not only on the experience of Jesus experience but also on our experience, to share the Good News of Christ to one’s own household or community is a difficult assignment and mission. Tough and challenging indeed, to bring God’s message and do wonders and miracles in our own home. Why? Why is it hard to be a prophet in our own home? What makes it challenging to proclaim Christ and share the Good news within our own family where sometimes (or even always) parents complaining about their children, children blaming their parents, brother and sisters accusing each other? Or even within our community or church where we do tend to complain with & about one another?

Somehow, we could identify in our gospel today two stumbling blocks that make it hard to be a prophet in our own home. First, our prejudices. Like the people who saw Jesus as only the carpenter’s son, it is also our tendency to prejudge others, as if we already know them, that make us blind to recognize prophets in our midst. We tend to downgrade, belittle others, and measure or to limit others by our own standard. “Ka-menos ba.”  Comments like: He is only that, or he is just a ..” And because we judged, we boxed in, that person by our own standards, we want them to behave as we expect them to behave, no more no less. Comments like, “you are just my junior, don’t disobey (“Anak, lang tika, ayaw’g supak” or “Magulang baya ko ha.”) At the same time, we tend not only to belittle others but also we undervalue ourselves. “Unsaon ta man, pobre man, manghod lang man, dili man ko pari, wa man ko kaeswela. Ordinaryo man lang ko, dili man ko dato.” What can I do, I’m just ordinary, poor, undereducated person.

There is much truth then to the saying: “over familiarity breeds contempt”.

The second stumbling block to our being a prophet in our own turf is our lack of faith. In our gospel today, Jesus was not able to work miracles in his own country because of the people’s unbelief – their lack of faith.  Usually it is slow for us to believe.

If I may ask you: How many of you believe that you, yourself are called and sent to be today’s Christian prophet? Those who believe that you are a Christian prophet, please raise your hands. You might think “Me a prophet, no way. Maybe him, but not me”, or Father must be crazy, I am just a simple ordinary unworthy Catholic Christian. How can I be a prophet I cannot even confront my problematic son? How can I preach Good News to my irresponsible drunkard uncle? Or how many of you here believe that your son or daughter or your helper is also a prophet? You might think, how my son or daughter could be a prophet – they cannot even make their own room. My helper a prophet? she cannot even read her own letters. Yes, we tend to be slow to accept that we are God’s sons and daughters. It is hard for us to believe that by virtue of our baptism – our baptismal consecration, every Catholic Christians share the dignity, identity, and responsibility, gifted to be Christ’s Prophets today. Remember, every Christian is baptized to be a prophet.

Yes, tough & hard it is to be today’s prophet in our own home and community because of humiliations, persecutions, neglect and rejections that we may encounter caused by our prejudices and our lack of faith in Christ, others and in ourselves. Like the sano/townfolks of Jesus, we may have rejected and wasted the message and the miracles-offered because of our prejudices and lack of faith in the messenger.

To proclaim the Good News is indeed threatening. But beyond and regardless of these difficulties and stumbling blocks, the message of salvation is remained humbly preached, shared, and fulfilled through the witnessing of ordinary people like us.  As St. Paul would say as well: “I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and constraints for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” And the good news is, despite these difficulties and hardships, God continues to send prophets who will preach his salvation to others whatever it takes. And usually he calls and sends those who are weak, ordinary, young, mayokmok in our standards. And mayokmok we maybe, He sends us to be His prophets of Good News to our world today. Reluctant & hesitant prophets we may be in our own home, we still do our part in believing & proclaiming our faith that there is God’s prophet amongst us, for the Lord said: “Whether they heed or resist, they shall know that a prophet has been among them.

Even we are slow to believe and as limited we may be, let us now renew and proclaim our faith…as we say….

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