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Thursday, 01 July 2021 13:44

Celebrating At Home - 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

True faith - seeing the sacred everywhere

Traditionally, the prophets in the Bible had a pretty tough time. Many experienced rejection and persecution and even death. The first reading tells part of the story of Ezekiel’s call to be a prophet. Common to all the prophets is the conviction that the Word of the Lord must be spoken to the people ‘whether they listen or not’ - the prophet must remain faithful to his vocation even if it costs him his life.

In the Gospels Jesus is presented as the prophet par excellence. In this Sunday’s Gospel we find Jesus in his home town, Nazareth, teaching in the synagogue - faithfully fulfilling his mission to proclaim the Good News. As for many other prophets, that proclamation will eventually cost him his life. Like the other prophets, Jesus, too, experiences rejection. At first the people marvel at Jesus’ teaching and the miracles he has worked elsewhere, but soon they decide that he is just ‘a carpenter (craftsman)’ whose family they know well. Nothing special to be seen here, they seem to think. The old saying, familiarity breeds contempt, seems to sum up their attitude, especially when they refer to Jesus as the son of his mother. Jews were customarily known by their father’s name even if the father had died. Jesus is astonished at their lack of faith.

Faith, in this context, implies an openness to perceive the presence and action of God (the Kingdom). Clearly, the people don’t perceive the action of God in Jesus in spite of the impressive words he spoke and the miracles he performed. Were Jesus’ family circumstances just too ordinary for them? They couldn’t look beyond what was familiar to them in order to see God at work in him. Without that essential openness Jesus finds he can’t work any great miracle among them even though he can cure a few sick people.

Faith is about being in relationship with Jesus (and therefore, with God). Relationships grow as people come to know and understand each other. In a faith relationship, we change as we begin to get to know Jesus and we come to see with his eyes, feel with his heart and act with his intention in the world.

Only when we begin to see with the eyes of Jesus can we perceive the otherwise ‘hidden’ presence of God in human beings and events. We begin to see the sacred ‘hidden’ in the secular and the ordinary.

Only with faith can we see the action of God enfolded in the ordinary and familiar, the presence of the divine in the human, the sacred in the secular. So, to us, the division between sacred and secular almost disappears and almost everything appears ‘sacred’, and not just ‘merely’ human or secular.

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Celebrating at Home is a Liturgy of the Word centred around the Gospel reading for each Sunday. It includes a reflection on the Gospel and prayers.

It can be used personally or with your family. Parts for all to pray are given in bold print and all the other parts can be shared among those present.

We hope that Celebrating at Home will be a source of nourishment and strength for all who use it.

In the room you decide to use for this prayer you could have a lighted candle, a crucifix and the Bible. These symbols help keep us mindful of the sacredness of our time of prayer and can help us feel connected with our local worshipping communities.

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