Tag Archives: prophet

Parable of the Wicked Tenants

2 Peter 1:2-7, Psalm 91, Mark 12:1-12

The wicked tenants in this Gospel passage do not just represent Israel’s leaders. Our Lord too, has left us each a ‘vineyard’ of blessings, gifts, talents and charisms.

How have we been using these gifts God has loaned to us? Have we been prideful of our abilities or do we praise and thank God everyday for them? Pope Benedict tells us:

“We should not become elated over our good deeds… it is the Lord’s power, not our own, that brings about the good in them.”

Going a step further, through Baptism, every Christian is expected to participate in Christ’s ministry as Priest, Prophet and King.

As Prophets, we are expected to share the Truth of the Gospel boldly and prudently.

As Priests, we are expected to be faithful followers of Jesus. This refers to our interiority and inner disposition. If we begin to think of ourselves acting in a priestly fashion everyday of our lives, we would undoubtedly carry out the work of Jesus — bringing justice and love into our world.

As Kings (or Queens), we are in charge of ourselves. Intellect and free will are powers bestowed upon our rational souls. This gives us dominion over our choices and bodies. We have a moral obligation to look after our temples and keep our passions under reason.

The Psalmist today gives us the simplest solution on how we can fulfill our three roles to its maximum potential: “In you, my God, I place my trust.” (Ps 91:2).

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Originally posted on Instagram.
Image: PD-US

Missing Christ

While visiting another parish for mass a few weeks ago, the priest spoke on this Sunday gospel:

Hence, he went into his own country; and his disciples followed him. [2]And when the sabbath was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were in admiration at his doctrine, saying: How came this man by all these things? and what wisdom is this that is given to him, and such mighty works as are wrought by his hands? [3] Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joseph, and Jude, and Simon? are not also his sisters here with us? And they were scandalized in regard of him. [4]And Jesus said to them: A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and in his own house, and among his own kindred. [5] And he could not do any miracles there, only that he cured a few that were sick, laying his hands upon them.  [6] And he wondered because of their unbelief, and he went through the villages round about teaching. Mark 6:1-6

He reminded his congregation that we are all called to be prophets and evangelize to those around us and that we are not to be surprised when those around us reject us.  As I listened to the priest, however, I found that I often identify not with Christ, but with the incredulous people of Nazareth. I began to wonder how often I had rejected a message from God or shut myself off from His miracles, because I was too snobbish to believe that God could work through the people around me.

The people of Nazareth were incredibly blessed among the towns of history, for they had the sole privilege of witnessing God grow up. In their simple town, the Blessed Mother and her spouse, the ever-steadfast St. Joseph, raised the Son of God. Nazareth sheltered the family from whom the Savior of the world came, and yet, they did not recognize Him. They saw only what they wanted to see: a local boy, someone “just like us”; they missed their opportunity for Christ to do what could have been His greatest miracles.  They refused to believe that God could be fulfilling His promise of salvation through, in their minds, an ordinary man.

There are dozens of reasons they could have felt that way. Perhaps they did not like Christ”s message of repentance. They could have thought themselves too humble to be noticed by God, or, conversely, too proud to need help from a neighbor.  It must have been hard to wrap their heads around the fact that the Messiah best online casino had been under their noses the whole time. Whether they had imagined a charismatic stranger, a solider, or a wealthy king, I doubt they saw the Anointed One as a young man with whom they had shared a village, a synagogue, and maybe a family tree.

Yet no matter the reason, be it prejudice or pride, self-abasement or self-righteousness, the people of Nazareth heard the truth and were unable to believe it. They witnessed the Son of God in their midst and saw only the son of a local carpenter. Their clouded vision cost them the chance for great miracles, miracles Jesus clearly wanted to perform. They had the opportunity to fall down at the feet of Christ, and claim, along with their unworthiness, their gratitude for what God was working in front of their very eyes. Instead, they watched the chosen one of Israel walk away and shake His head at their unbelief.

How many times have I unknowingly caused the Savior of the world to shake His head at my own doubt? I can be so blind to what the Holy Spirit is working in my life because I only see what I want to see. I must miss miracles all the time because I cannot believe I am worthy of them or that they could happen here.  My ears are so often closed to the truth because of the person who has spoken it.  We are so familiar with those around us that we can miss how God uses them as agents of change and messengers of repentance.

As the village of Nazareth demonstrated, the people of Israel had a habit of missing out on the prophecies of God and mistreating his prophets.  God reached out to them again and again, but their hearts were hard, their ears were deaf, and their eyes were blind. And still we continue not to learn from their stories. The Holy Spirit still speaks to us: through the Church, through the Scriptures, and through the people around us. We must not let our ideas of what we want God to say and of what His messengers ought to look like cost us our ability to hear.

We walk in a landscape of prophets, angels, and miracles, if our eyes and ears will only be open.  As the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning once said: ““Earth”s crammed with heaven/And every common bush afire with God, /But only he who sees takes off his shoes; /The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.” God has not stopped speaking and He has not stopped working miracles. Let us not stop listening and looking. If we allow those around us to scandalize us when they speak truth and when we see our town and our time and ourselves as unworthy of miracles, we miss more than a message, we miss Christ.