Gospel Reflection: Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1

Ez 2:2-5

As the LORD spoke to me, the spirit entered into me
and set me on my feet,
and I heard the one who was speaking say to me:
Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites,
rebels who have rebelled against me;
they and their ancestors have revolted against me to this very day.
Hard of face and obstinate of heart
are they to whom I am sending you.
But you shall say to them: Thus says the LORD GOD!
And whether they heed or resist—for they are a rebellious house—
they shall know that a prophet has been among them.


Mk 6:1-6

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, “Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.


In recent weeks, the Sunday Readings have spoken of Our Lord’s great power. Saint Mark recounts His calming the violent squall at sea, healing the woman afflicted with hemorrhages, and raising the daughter of the synagogue official. In both Gentile and Jewish territory, Our Lord praises the faith of those who seek His help and invites all to place their full trust and hope in Him.

Yet, when Our Lord returns to His hometown of Nazareth to teach in their synagogue, this Sunday’s Gospel tells us that “He was not able to do any mighty deed there.” Among His own, He finds unbelief. The people with whom He was most familiar actually take offense at His teachings. Like Ezekiel who was sent to those who rebelled against God, Our Lord also encounters those who are“hard of face and obstinate of heart.”

How true it is that those most familiar with the Person of Christ can sometimes be the most hostile to Him. Even in our own nation that was founded on Christian ideals and firm moral principles, we see resistance today to the practice of faith, the proclamation of Gospel values, and the constant Christian teaching on the dignity of the human person and of the family. The prophetic voice of Christ continues to speak through the Church today, even if her audience is closed off or if the influences of the world try to mute His Word.

By virtue of our Baptism, we are called to be receptive to Christ’s teachings and to echo His prophetic voice. You and I are to be authentic witnesses to Him in the world. It is so easy to pass through life simply ‘going through the motions.’ We cannot lose our sense of how powerful the message and work of Our Lord are, even though we are so familiar with Christianity.

The voice of Christ, which praised the faith of the sick in need and which said “Quiet! Be still!” in the face of the frightening storm, continues to speak prophetically today. We pray for ourselves, that we and our families will always be receptive to His promptings and teachings. We pray, too, for our nation, that she may put aside any hardness of heart and authentically heed Christ’s call to conversion and the fullness of life.

Please be assured of my prayers for you before Our Lord, present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

+ Bishop Schlert

Image: Christ among the Pharisees, Jacob Jordaens.


Mass Livestream