The Grace to face Oppositions
Meditation on the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
(Ezekiel 2:2-5; 2 Cor 12:7-10; Mk 6:1-6)
Friends and foe; lovers and haters, these seem to be the two faces of people we meet on our life journey. To what extent can these two impact on us? In the first reading, the prophet Ezekiel was sent to a rebellious people, a people that would oppose him and persecute him. Despite that, God told him to go on and carry out his prophetic mission. “And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that there has been a prophet among them.”
The opposition took different turn in the second reading, where St Paul complained about a thorn in his flesh! He experienced the opposition from within him, i.e he became his own ‘enemy’ and felt the ‘stubbornness’ arising from within him, in his own flesh! Where could he hide from his own self? We can feel his misery as he called out to God to deliver him, but the Lord answered him, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So St Paul learnt humility; never to boast of his power or achievement, except the power of Christ. With this grace, no more shall one be afraid or surrender to weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; the grace of God is stronger than them all. One can still succeed in every aspect of his life despite the ‘thorns in his flesh’, only if he cooperates with the grace of God, which is always available and sufficient.
Surprisingly, the Gospel narrates another source of opposition that is equally dangerous. Jesus could not fulfil his mission among his loved ones. The people that claim to be his very own, who came to him as his loved ones and close relations. The familiarity became dishonour and an obstacle to faith! Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honour except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” He was shocked at the depth of their unbelief.
It is obvious, therefore, that the ENEMY that tries to stop our progress and success in life can come from the people or things we hate, our very selves, and the people or things we love! The opposition coming from loved ones is more difficult to detect and to endure (Ps 55:12-14). And the opposition coming from within us can only be overcome by the grace of God. Our openness to grace flies us above all obstacles and oppositions. Amen.
Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church,
Tedi-Muwo, Ojo, Lagos.
Sunday July 4th, 2021.