In the first reading, (Ezekiel 2:2-5) Ezekiel is convinced of God’s Spirit present in him. He is certain that it is God’s message that he is to convey. God also informs him that he was to face a hard, rebellious people. The mission of Ezekiel is o speak on behalf of God, whether the people accept the message or not does not matter. He was also warned by God of the consequences such as rejection, rebellion even murder. Ezekiel is empowered by God’s Spirit to fulfill this mission. In reading this passage to us we are made to understand and accept the messengers of God, and to speak boldly the message we are given to speak.
So many of the people we regard as great have had tremendous obstacles to overcome on their respective paths to greatness. In today’s second reading St. Paul (2 Cor. 12:7-10) tells us his story. His path, too, was filled with struggles. Even in his weakness and struggles Paul sees the power of Christ being manifested.
What an immense tension Jesus had to endure. He who empowers others to speak, act and work wonders, yields to the jealousy and envy of others. It is interesting that Jesus’ powers can be diminished by the lack of faith of the people, at least in this gospel. It is Jesus’ turn to be astonished and perplexed. Rejection is never pleasant. Rejection by those nearest and dearest seems the deepest pain of all. Jesus experienced that when the people of Nazareth questioned his background and belittled his actions. On the one hand they were amazed at the wonderful works he performed and his wisdom. On the other hand they were not willing to give him credit for it because they were familiar with him. The lack of acceptance by the people in his native place did not alter his message or deter his mission.
There is a valuable lesson in this gospel. If the Church is true to its mission, as Jesus was, it too will encounter rejection. So also the messengers of Christ. The servant is not greater than the master.
How do we deal with Jesus, his message and the messengers of God?