How often do people say one or more of those sentences or something like them to us? Those words can not only increase our self-esteem but make us try harder to live up to those sentiments.
“I don’t believe in you.” “I don’t trust you.” I don’t have faith in you.” Those deflating sentences have the opposite effect especially when a person has shown he/she is believable, trustworthy, and faithful.
Belief, trust, and faith take center stage in today’s readings. Ezekiel is sent to a people who are “hard of face and obstinate of heart” to announce God’s word and judgment to them. He had to believe that God was truly calling him and have trust and faith that God would stand beside and support him. He had to have confidence that no matter the outcome God’s word to him would be true: “They shall know that a prophet has been among them.”
In the Gospel Jesus is returning to his home turf. He has just come back from healing a woman who had been afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years and raising to life the twelve-year old daughter of Jairus. The woman was cured because she had faith; and Jairus was told to “just have faith” or in another translation “what is needed is trust”. Despite their astonishment at his teaching and the knowledge of his mighty deeds, the people of Nazareth are very suspicious of Jesus, saying in effect that they know his family and watched him grow up. He’s a carpenter! Who does he think he is? Where did he get such wisdom and power? They couldn’t get beyond that so they minds and hearts were closed. They lacked faith, the one thing needed for Jesus to heal or do mighty deeds.
Now Paul was a different case. He had faith, enormous faith, that led him to preach to anybody and everybody while undergoing persecution, imprisonment, beatings, etc. He begged the Lord to relieve him of the thorn in the flesh he had been given three times. (I think that is an idiom, another way of saying many times or over and over again.) Paul is a counter-point to those who profess if people only have enough faith, God will act on their behalf. Sometimes the answer to prayer made in faith is “no”. Grace is sufficient to bear whatever, to endure whatever, and to triumph over whatever.
Our prayer today: “I believe in you.” I trust you.” “I have faith in you.”
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, B18
Ezekiel 2:2-5; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Mark 6: 1-6a.