THEME: REJECTION OF GOD
READINGS: Ezekiel 2:3-5/ 2 Corinthians 12:7-10/ Mark 6:1-6
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“I am the Lord your God…. you shall have no other god besides me” (Exodus 20:1-3). So important is this Law that it is given the first place – the pride of place – among the Ten Commandments God delivered to His people through His servant, Moses.
Unfortunately, on the very day Moses was to deliver the tablet of the Ten Commandments to God’s people, they rejected the Lord by worshiping another god. That was not the first and last time God’s people rejected Him by worshipping idols, as well as, disobeying His other commandments. Indeed, on many occasions subsequently, the people of God rejected Him.
It is, therefore, not surprising that at the time God was sending the prophet Ezekiel, His people had rejected Him and as a result they had been conquered by the Babylonians and sent into exile. Notwithstanding their rebellious nature, God desired to save His people. He, however, had to forewarn the prophet Ezekiel to the effect that if His people had rejected Him, His messenger should not expect a different treatment: “Son of Man, I send you to the sons of Israel, to a nation of rebels, who have rebelled against me; they and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day…. whether they hear or refuse to hear… they will know that there has been a prophet among them” (Ezekiel 2:3-5).
Centuries thereafter, our Lord Jesus Christ would also experience several rejections by His own people. Today’s gospel reading gives us the instance of the Lord’s rejection by the people of Nazareth (Mark 6:1-6).
Beloved, God is still rejected today. He is rejected in various ways. Firstly, we reject God when, like the people of God in the Old Testament, we worship other gods. These idols could be evil spirits or any other thing or a person whose importance in our lives competes with or even replaces the unique place God must have in our lives.
Secondly, we reject God whenever we do not believe in Him or when we hold that God does not exist.
Thirdly, we reject God whenever we accept and promote an idea or a course that is against God’s Word or will. For instance, God’s Word or Commandment says, “Thou shall not kill.” That is, for God, who is the giver of life, every human life, made in His image and likeness, is sacred. It is sacred from the moment of conception to natural death. Therefore, when we promote the legalization of the killing of the most innocent and absolutely helpless unborn babies, we reject God the giver of life. We likewise reject God when we promote the legalization of euthanasia, by which the lives of the sick or aged are intentionally terminated.
Fourthly, we reject God whenever we make laws which contradict His Word or will. For instance, God’s written Word teaches us that marriage is a divine institution established between a man and a woman. However, today some nations have re-defined marriage to include the union of persons of the same sex. Thus, what God has joined together in His institution which predates the establishment of any nation and the making of human laws (constitutions), some nations have dared to put asunder. This is a pure rejection of God!
In the fifth place, we reject God whenever our way of life or our action goes against the Word or will of God. In other words, to sin is to reject God. This is an area where a lot of us repeatedly reject God.
Beloved, among the various ways by which we can reject God, I have mentioned five – namely, whenever,
- we worship other gods;
- we do not believe in God;
- we accept and promote an idea or a course that is against God’s Word or will;
- we make laws which contradict His Word or will; and
- our way of life or our action goes against the Word or will of God.
Beloved, to reject God, who is the giver of life and other blessings, is to reject life and other blessings. Thus, the people of Nazareth who rejected Jesus, unfortunately denied themselves of the blessings of His miracles (cf. Mark 6:1-6, today’s gospel reading). Therefore, let us pray that we will never reject the Lord, but we will seek to be ever close to Him, who is the giver of life and blessings.
Finally, according to the second reading, the Lord granted St. Paul sufficient grace to enable him overcome sin, despite his temptations and weaknesses (2 Cor. 12:9). Let us, therefore, pray that in moments of temptations and weakness, the Lord will grant us sufficient grace to remain obedient to Him. Amen!
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis