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Scripture Reflections

Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time – July 7

Ezekial 2:2-5
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Mark 6:1-6

By Msgr. Robert H. Aucoin

Here’s a quiz for you. What do the famous preacher Bishop Fulton J. Sheen and the authors Ernest Hemingway and Richard Hooker have in common? Bishop Sheen’s college debate coach told him that he was the worst speaker he had ever heard. Ernest Hemingway’s teachers advised him: “Forget about writing; you don’t have enough talent for it.” Six publishers rejected Richard Hooker’s book, MASH, before it was finally accepted and became a best seller.

All three men were told: “Forget about it!,” just like the old Geico Gecko in the commercials. All three faced rejection. All three had gifts others could not or would not recognize. However, all three did not listen to the rejection but moved forward in their pursuits.

The listeners in today’s Gospel reject Jesus. He was a local boy. His listeners, people who knew him, scorned him as a teacher of the law. They might have accepted him as a carpenter, one of their own, someone who, as a carpenter, could make good wooden furniture, but certainly not one who could interpret God’s message for them or teach them. But their reluctance to accept him did not stop him from speaking.

Would that all Christians had the same dedication of spirit as did Jesus. In traveling at airports and train stations and other public locations, we see and hear the public announcement: “See something, say something!” Isn’t that what it means to be a disciple of Jesus? If Jesus were here today, perhaps he would have used that same expression: “Hey, you, my followers. If you see something contrary to what I have taught, then please say something.”

We are blessed with religious freedom in this country, at least most of the time. Some would like to curtail that freedom or, at least, suppress its message. But freedom of speech is a foundational value of our country, one that we can use at will whenever we want. Yet do we? Have our Catholic genes become mute in favor of misguided political or religious or some other kind of so-called correctness?

True, if we say something, we might be criticized. Well, my response to that is simple: get over it. At least you’re going to be criticized for something worthwhile. We can face criticism for many things in life. Why not use up our criticism credits for something worthwhile?

We may think that silence is golden. That is true if you are a loudmouth or a very annoying person.

However, faced with behavior or policies or actions that run contrary to the message of Jesus, silence constitutes approval.

If you see something and you don’t say something, then you may be complicit in the evil that ensues.

In all of this, we need to remember, too, that we must still love our detractors. Rejection should never keep us from loving just as Jesus never let rejection keep him from loving.

Hopefully, we have seen and understood Jesus’ message. Hopefully, we fearlessly live that message. Additionally, hopefully, we are willing to say something when we see something.

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