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  Word To Life


Sunday Scripture Readings, July 8, 2012

By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service

July 8, Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle B. Readings:

1) Ezekiel 2:2-5

Psalm 123:1-4

2) 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Gospel: Mark 6:1-6

Everyone has a bad day from time to time. We all have days when everything seems to go wrong, when our sin gets the better of us, when people do not respect us or when everything we do seems to go against what we believe.

Even people in the Bible go through rough stretches. Take, for instance, this week's readings. In Ezekiel, we find the chosen people of God described as "hard of face and obstinate of heart." Then St. Paul reveals to the faithful in Corinth that he has a "thorn in the flesh." Scholars have wondered for years what this "thorn" actually was, as Paul never reveals exactly what he is referring to, but there was something in his life that he struggled with and could not overcome completely.

In Mark's Gospel, we even see Jesus having a bad day. He goes home to preach in the synagogue. I imagine it was a big moment for him to share the love of his Father with those he had known since he was a child. But instead of opening up their hearts to God's word, the Gospel says, "They took offense at him." Questioning his authority to teach them, they asked, "Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary?"

Each of the readings reveals that we are not alone in having a bad day or rough stretch. But the Scriptures also reveal that we are not alone and powerless in these moments. God sees the hardened hearts of his chosen people and instead of forsaking them, sends the prophet Ezekiel to point them in the right direction.

Even as Paul laments the thorn in his side, he boasts in his weakness, reminding us all that in our weakness Jesus is strong.

Lastly, we see Jesus rejected by the people closest to him. The Gospel says, "He was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them." Even when Jesus has a bad day, a few people are healed.

These readings speak to our human weakness and the power of God not only to overcome it, but also to walk through it with us.

QUESTIONS:

What are some ways God has come to you in your weakness? Who is a prophet in your life, bringing God's word to you?

SCRIPTURE TO BE ILLUSTRATED:

"For when I am weak, then I am strong." -- 2 Corinthians 12:10b

END



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