O. T. XIV (July 4th Sunday, 2021)

OT XIV [B] (July 4) Sunday (8-minute homily in one page) 

Introduction: Today’s readings introduce Jesus as a prophet and explain how prophets and other messengers from God inevitably suffer rejection. The readings challenge us to face rejection and hardship with prophetic courage.

Scripture lessons: The first reading, taken from the book of the prophet Ezekiel, tells us about his call from God to be a prophet. Yahweh warns Ezekiel that he is being sent to obstinate and rebellious Israelites in exile in Babylon. Hence, as God’s prophet, he will have to face rejection and persecution for giving God’s message. This reading warns us that, as Christians who accept the Way of Jesus and seek to follow it,  we also may face indifference,  hostility, contempt, scorn, weakness, hardship, persecution, insults,  and rejection. In the second reading, St. Paul gives us the same warning from his own experience, that not only prophets, but apostles and missionaries will encounter hardships and rejection in their preaching mission. Paul confesses that God has given him a share in Christ’s suffering – a chronic illness which causes physical suffering — a “thorn in the flesh,” — so that he might rely solely on God’s grace in all his work  and might glory in the power of the strengthening God Who alone sustains him.  The apostle invites us to rise above our own weaknesses and disabilities, cooperating with the grace of God and proclaiming His message by word and example as Paul did.  Today’s Gospel passage, Mark 6:1-6, tells us that he first reaction of the people in the synagogue to Jesus’ words was one of astonishment. Luke says they were “amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips.” But in spite of their amazement, many people of Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth did not accept him as a prophet because they “knew” Jesus and the family. They also  “knew” that this “son of the carpenter” could not be the promised Messiah who would come from Bethlehem as a descendant of David’s royal family. They knew him only as a carpenter from a poor family, with no formal training in Mosaic Law.  Jesus’ neighbors did not expect this “carpenter’s son,” to be skilled in interpreting the Scriptures.  They also could not understand how a mere carpenter could be their political Messiah who would liberate them from Roman rule and re-establish the Davidic kingdom of power and glory.  Besides, they were angry when Jesus  not only did not work any miracles in Nazareth but chided them with prophetic courage for their lack of Faith, then left them, to proclaim God’s message, through a preaching, healing ministry to those who would receive it and  believe. Certainly, they thought Jesus had gone far beyond the place of a humble carpenter. The apostle John wrote of Christ in John 1:1011,He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.”

Life message: Today’s Scriptures challenge us to face rejection with prophetic courage and optimism. Very often our friends, families, or childhood companions fail to listen to us and refuse to accept the words of grace, love, and encouragement that we offer to them because they are so familiar with us that they are unable to see us as God’s appointed instruments, the agents of God’s healing and saving grace.  But we have to face such rejection with prophetic courage because by our Baptism we are called to be prophets like Jesus, sharing Jesus’ prophetic mission. As prophets, our task is to “speak the truth in love,” and to oppose the evils in our society without condoning or encouraging sinful behavior even in our dear ones. Let us also acknowledge, appreciate, and encourage the prophets of our time who stand for Truth and Justice in our society with the wisdom of God in their heads, the power and love of the Holy Spirit in their words, and the courage of God in their actions.

OT XIV [B] (July 4) Ez 2:2-5; II Cor 12:7-10; Mk 6:1-6

Homily starter anecdotes: # 1: Do not allow rejection to derail your dreams: The annals of human history are replete with case after case of good people being rejected by those who knew them best. Beethoven, for example, had a rather awkward playing style and preferred to work at his own compositions rather than play the compositions of the classical artists of his day. Disapproving of his technique, his teacher called him hopeless as a composer. Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four and could not read until age nine. His school master said that he was “mentally slow, unsociable and adrift in his foolish dreams, and that he would never amount to anything.” Thomas Edison’s teachers advised his parents to keep him home from school, stating that he was “too stupid to learn anything.” In his autobiography, Charles Darwin wrote, “I was considered by all my masters and my father, a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard in intellect.” An expert once said of the great football coach, Vince Lombardi, “He possesses minimal football knowledge and lacks motivation.” Socrates was written off as “an immoral corruptor of youth.” Louisa May Alcott’s family thought she was hardly educable and encouraged her to find work as a seamstress or house-servant. When F. W. Woolworth first sought work at a dry goods store, his employers said he did not have the intelligence to wait on customers. Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor who complained that he was lacking in creative ideas. The father of the sculptor Rodin said, “I have an idiot for a son.” Described as the worst pupil in his school, Rodin failed three times to secure admittance to a school of art. After Fred Astaire’s first screen test, the memo from the testing director said, “Can’t act! Slightly bald! Can dance a little! “Obviously, all of these people lived to contradict their naysayers and so excelled in their respective fields as to become a surprise to those who thought they “knew” them.– So also Jesus. So also, Paul. So also, Ezekiel. Each of the readings for today’s liturgy challenges the human propensity for labeling and limiting and invites believers to begin to look at God, the world, and one another with more open eyes and more receptive hearts.(Sanchez Files) Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

# 2 Rejected geniuses: Bishop Fulton Sheen, the great Preacher, was told by his college debate coach, “You are absolutely the worst speaker I ever heard.”(Mark Link S.J.). Ruth Graham felt an uncontrollable urge to run out of the meeting the first time she heard Billy Graham preach. She was not convinced of his preaching ability. She was put off by his preaching style. Billy had to improve his preaching before Ruth would become his wife. Brilliant British Theologian G.K. Chesterton could not read until he was eight years old. A teacher said if his head were opened, they would probably find a lump of fat where there was supposed to be a brain. That teacher was wrong. Earnest Hemingway, the great novelist, was told by his teachers, ”Forget about writing; you don’t have enough talent for it.” Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit was rejected by seven publishers. Richard Bach got twenty rejection slips before Jonathan Livingston Seagull was published. Richard Hooker’s humorous war novel, MASH was rejected by 21 publishers before it became a bestseller, a movie, and long-running television series. Dr. Seuss, one of the most popular children’s authors of all time, got more than two dozen rejection slips before The Cat in the Hat made it to print. Today’s Gospel tells us how Jesus encountered rejection with prophetic courage. If people rejected Jesus in his lifetime, we should not be surprised if people reject us who believe in and follow Jesus in our lifetime. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

# 3: Rev. Deacon Prophet: There is a funny story about a bishop who was interviewing a senior seminarian before his ordination as deacon and asked him where he would like to be assigned as a deacon for pastoral training. The seminarian said, somewhat boldly, “Oh, my bishop, anywhere but New Canaan!” “Why not there,” the bishop asked? “You know,” the seminarian answered, “that’s my hometown — and we all know that ‘a prophet is not without honor except in his native place.’” The bishop replied, “Don’t worry my friend! Nobody in your hometown is going to confuse you with a prophet.” Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

#4: Prophets were empowered by the Spirit of God: Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi once said, “It is possible for a single individual to defy the whole might of an unjust empire to save his honor, his religion, his soul, and lay the foundation for that empire’s fall or its regeneration.” Gandhi, a twentieth century man of peace and leader of a nonviolent movement to improve conditions in his native India, was just such an individual. So was Ezekiel and so were the other prophets of Israel and Judah. Acting as God’s mouthpieces (the meaning of the Greek prophetes), the prophets were empowered by the Spirit of God to call forth truth, justice, and fidelity in situations where these qualities were overshadowed by the lies, frauds, injustice, and faithlessness of their contemporaries. Called upon and charged by God to speak to the people, Ezekiel was also fully equipped by God for his mission. God’s ruah (Hebrew for breath) or Life Force entered into the prophet and remained with him, enabling him to understand and to communicate God’s message to his contemporaries (8:3; 9:24; 11:1). Regardless of their recalcitrance (v. 8 “hard of face and obstinate of heart”), the power of God, at work in Ezekiel, was such that even the most rebellious would be caused to acknowledge that a prophet had been among them (v. 9). The assurance that God’s word would prevail is further affirmed by the designation of the prophet as Son of man. Occurring more than 90 times in Ezekiel, this title underlines the contrast between the Divine Word and its mortal messenger, thereby emphasizing the fact that the message is God’s not Ezekiel’s and that reward and/or retribution will be decided by God alone.(Sanchez Files). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

# 5: Good news to the poor! But are we poor? Mother Teresa thought so. There was a beautiful article about her in Time magazine. She was asked about the materialism of the West. “The more you have, the more you are occupied,” she contends. “But the less you have the freer you are. Poverty for us is a freedom. It is a joyful freedom. There is no television here, no this, no that. This is the only fan in the whole house…and it is for the guests. But we are happy. “I find the rich poorer,” she continues. “Sometimes they are lonelier inside…The hunger for love is much more difficult to fill than the hunger for bread…The real poor know what joy is.” When asked about her plans for the future, she replied, “I just take one day. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not come. We have only today to love Jesus.” Was there anyone in this Church as rich as Mother Teresa? Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

Introduction: Today’s readings introduce Jesus as a prophet and explain how prophets and other messengers from God inevitably suffer rejection. The readings challenge us to face rejection and hardship with prophetic courage.

Scripture readings summarized: The first reading, taken from the book of the prophet Ezekiel, tells us about his call from God to be a prophet. Yahweh warns Ezekiel that he is being sent to obstinate and rebellious Israelites in exile in Babylon. Hence, as God’s prophet, he will have to face rejection and persecution for giving God’s message. The reading gives us the warning that, as Christians who accept the Way of Jesus and seek to follow it, we also may face indifference, hostility, contempt, scorn, weakness, hardship, persecution, insults, and rejection. In the second reading, St. Paul gives us the same warning from his own experience that not only the prophets, but the apostles and missionaries as well, will have to encounter hardships and rejection in their preaching mission. Paul confesses that God gave him a share in Christ’s suffering a chronic illness which caused physical suffering — a “thorn in the flesh,” — so that he might rely solely on God’s grace in all his work and might glory in the power of the strengthening God Who alone sustained him. Paul invites us to rise above our own weaknesses and disabilities, cooperate with the grace of God and preach the word of God by word and example as the apostle did. Today’s Gospel passage, Mark 6:1-6, shows us that many people of Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth did not accept Jesus as a prophet because they “knew” Jesus and the family too well. They knew Jesus as a carpenter with no schooling in Mosaic Law and knew that this “son of the carpenter” could not be the promised Messiah who would come from Bethlehem as a descendant of David’s royal family. Besides, they were angry when Jesus not only did not work any miracles in Nazareth but chided them with prophetic courage for their lack of Faith, then left them, to proclaim God’s message, through a preaching, healing ministry to those who would receive it and believe.

First reading, Ezekiel 2:2-5 explained: Today’s reading from Ezekiel captures the same experience in the career of the prophet Ezekiel, who lived about 600 years before Jesus. Ezekiel is warned by God that, though he has been called by Yahweh and sent with a message to the people of Israel, they will almost certainly refuse to hear and accept his message. God is angry about the rebelliousness of the people to whom He is sending His prophet. Ezekiel was the first person called to become a prophet while the Chosen People were in Exile in Babylon. While the false prophets were consoling people, saying that the Exile was soon to end and they’d be going home to a newly prosperous Jerusalem soon, Ezekiel resolutely foretold the further destruction of Jerusalem. No wonder he was hated and rejected by the people! Those who accept the call of God and seek to follow Him may also face indifference, hostility, contempt, scorn, weakness, hardship, persecution, insults and rejection.

Second Reading, 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10 explained: In today’s selection, Paul frankly admits the fact he has learned by trial and error that he couldn’t preach the Gospel on the basis of his own strength and talent. Rather, the weaker he became, the more room he left for the Spirit of God to work through him. In the midst of a conflict with the Corinthian Christian community, Paul reveals two of his deepest spiritual experiences. In one he had an ecstatic theophany when he received an exceptional revelation. In the other, he fervently prayed to have the unidentified cause of great suffering removed but was given instead the reassurance that God’s grace would be sufficient for his every need. Paul’s opponents within the Corinthian community presumed that an authentic apostle would be vindicated by Heavenly visitation and a miraculous healing. Instead, Paul discovered positive value in his pain. He understood that suffering, accepted as God’s gift, produces patience, sensitivity, compassion, and a genuine appreciation of life’s blessings. Hence, Paul declares that the weaknesses which continue to mark his life as an apostle represent the effective working of the power of the crucified Christ in Paul’s ministry. Paul was content with weaknesses and hardships for the sake of Christ; we, too, will find, in our surrender to God’s Love, that His grace does suffice for all our needs. For Christ’s Power dwells in us in our weakness, and in weakness we are truly strong.

Gospel exegesis: The context: It was natural that Jesus should visit his hometown, Nazareth, as a rabbi with a band of disciples. On the Sabbath day, Jesus went to the local synagogue. In the synagogue there was no definite person to give the address. Any distinguished stranger present who had a message to give might be asked by the ruler of the synagogue to speak. Since Jesus’ fame as a preacher and miracle worker in other places of Galilee had reached Nazareth, Jesus was invited to read from the Prophets and explain the text. During his “Inaugural Address” or “Mission Statement,” Jesus took upon himself the identity of a prophet, different from the image of a miracle worker that people wished to see.  As other faithful prophets of Israel had done, Jesus, too, held  people accountable for their selfishness, their faithlessness to God, their lack of justice and mercy (Mi 6:6-8), and their sinfulness.

The adverse reaction: The first reaction of the people in the synagogue to Jesus’ words was one of astonishment. Luke says they were “amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips.” But Mark says that they asked one another: “Where did this man get all this? They knew him only as a carpenter from a poor family, with no formal training in Mosaic Law. Certainly, they thought Jesus had gone far beyond the place of a humble carpenter. (One of the dreams of Martin Luther King was that his people “would be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”). Jesus’ neighbors did not expect this “carpenter’s son,” to be skilled in interpreting the Scriptures.  They also could not understand how a mere carpenter could be their political Messiah who would liberate them from Roman rule and re-establish the Davidic kingdom of power and glory. The local townsfolk also objected that Jesus had no distinguished lineage, identifying Jesus as “the son of Mary” (v. 3) rather than with the traditional title, “son of Joseph” (“Bar Joseph”) title. Such a reference could be seen as an insult, because men in that culture were identified by who their fathers were (see John 1:45). Jesus responded: “No prophet is accepted in his native place.” Those who accept the call of God and seek to follow Him will face indifference, hostility, contempt, scorn, weakness, hardship, persecution, insults and rejection. The apostle John said of Christ in John 1:1011, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.”

Life messages: 1) Let us face rejection with prophetic courage and optimism. The story of Jesus’ rejection by fellow-townsmen in Nazareth is a story that we can identify with because it is a story that has happened to most of us. We might have experienced the pain of rejection caused by hurts, wounds, betrayal, divorce, abandonment, violated trust, trauma, neglect, or abuse in its various forms. What about rejection by those closest to us? Often our friends, families, or childhood companions fail to listen to, and refuse to accept, the words of grace, love and encouragement that we offer to them, because they are so familiar with us as we were that they are unable to see us as God’s appointed instruments, the agents of God’s healing and saving grace. Let us check also the other side of the coin. How often do we discount God’s agents through prejudice? How often do we fail to see God’s image in them because of our own hardheartedness?  We must realize that God’s power is always available to transform even the most unlikely people.

2) We need to handle rejection in the right spirit: a) We can handle rejection with respect – respect for ourselves and respect for others. Our first reaction to rejection is often anger – anger at ourselves for assuming we deserve what we got and bitterness toward others who perpetuate the rejection. In the face of rejection, we would be wise to follow the advice of St. Paul who said, “Be angry and sin not. Let not the sun go down on your anger.” b) We need to avoid self-defeating assumptions. One rejection need not be an indictment on one’s life. Rejection is not synonymous with continuous failure. c) We need to avoid magnifying the rejection. Rejection need not be a forecast of our future, and it must not become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Rejection in the past need not be a predictor of rejection in the future. d) We need to avoid allowing rejection to derail our dreams and instead choose to persist in following God’s Way, doing His Will. e) We need to learn from our rejections. We are not perfect, and we do not always get it right, but we need to keep coming back until we do get it right. Every rejection can be a lesson if we stay open to new possibilities and new opportunities. What can I do differently? How can I improve? What needs can I meet? These are the questions we need to ask if we are to prevent a trouble from going to waste.

3) Let us acknowledge the prophets of God’s goodness in our midst. God is present giving us his message through our nearest and dearest and our neighbors and coworkers. Since God uses them as His prophets to convey His message to us, it is our duty to acknowledge and honor them. Let us express our appreciation today for our families – spouses for each other, parents and children for each other. A word of appreciation for the lady who cooks the dinner, for the neighbor who is always ready to share our happiness and sorrow, for the friends who have given us time, support and attention during a recent bereavement or a tragedy in our life – all are our proper responses to God’s messengers of love and light. Let us not take for granted the presence of God among us as evidenced by the goodness shown by family and friends. Let us also recognize God’s direction, help, and support in our lives through His words in the Bible and through the advice and examples of others.

4) We must have the prophetic courage of our convictions.  By our Baptism, God   calls us to be prophets like Jesus, sharing Jesus’ prophetic mission.  The task of a prophet is to speak God’s truth. We must never be afraid of this call.   We may rely on   Jesus to supply us with the courage to oppose the many evils in our society.  By legalizing abortion in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed the killing of over thirty million unborn children in forty-eight years and it is tolerating the brutal execution of 4400 defenseless lives every day by abortion.  Our television and movie conglomerates, which are supported by the tax money of millions of citizens, systematically poison the minds of the young as well as the old by the excessive importance given to secular values, materialistic hedonism, perverted sex, and unnecessary violence. Many well-known corporate sponsors support more than 75,000 U. S. websites of pornographic material, thus enabling the destructive behavior of perverts and sex abusers.  Our society tells youngsters that promiscuous sex, drugs and alcohol are means by which they express their individuality.  It is here that our country needs Christians with the prophetic courage of their convictions to pray, do penance, make reparation for, and speak out where challenged as our means to fight against such moral evils.

5) Let us battle with this drift in our relationship with Christ. Our passionate first love drifts to second or third love. Our zeal for His service begins to cruise into “only when it’s convenient.” Our hunger for His Word slows to a “once-a-week,” or an obligatory “once a year,” meal. Our intimate relationship with God transitions to only prayers around food, maybe. Our giving first to His Church drops to “only what I have left over.” Let us examine ourselves to discover the true state of our familiarity with Christ and His Word. Have we become complacent, indifferent or – worse — contemptuous?  Let us “fire up” today, asking the Holy Spirit to fan our embers into Life, Light, and Love again and keep the blaze burning here and hereafter!

5) We need ”to speak the Truth of Christ with love,” never being hypocritical or disrespectful.  We must never remain silent in the face of evil for fear of being thought “politically incorrect.”   Jesus was not against conflict, if it promoted Truth. Jesus taught us to give respect and freedom to others, without condoning or encouraging sinful behavior. Love does not tolerate destructive behavior but, nevertheless, it sometimes causes pain—-just as a surgeon must sometimes hurt in order to heal. We can be kind, charitable, and honest and forgiving as we speak forth our own convictions as Jesus did in the synagogue.

Jokes of the week: # 1: Rejection resulting in a resignation: There was a feud between the Pastor and the Choir Director of a Southern Baptist parish. The first hint of trouble came when the Pastor preached on Dedicating oneself to service, and the Choir Director chose to have the choir sing: “I Shall Not Be Moved.” Trying to believe this was a coincidence, the Pastor put the incident behind him. The next Sunday he preached on Giving. Afterwards, the choir squirmed as the director led them in the hymn: “Jesus Paid It All” By this time, the Pastor was losing his temper. Sunday morning attendance swelled as the tension between the two began public. A large crowd showed up the next week to hear his sermon on the Sin of Gossiping. Would you believe the Choir Director selected for the choir: “I Love to Tell the Story”? There was no turning back. The following Sunday the Pastor told the congregation that unless something changed he was considering resignation. The entire Church gasped when the Choir Director led them in: “Why Not Tonight?” Truthfully, no one was surprised when the Pastor resigned a week later, explaining that Jesus had led him there and Jesus was leading him away. The Choir Director could not resist having the choir sing, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”

# 2: Rejection at the Pearly Gate, too: A cab driver reaches the Pearly Gates and announces his presence to St. Peter, who looks him up in his Big Book. Upon reading the entry for the cabby, St. Peter invites him to grab a silk robe and a golden staff and to proceed into Heaven. A preacher is next in line behind the cabby and has been watching these proceedings with interest. He announces himself to St. Peter. Upon scanning the preacher’s entry in the Big Book, St. Peter furrows his brow and says, “Okay, we’ll let you in, but take that cotton robe and wooden staff.” The preacher is astonished and replies, “But I am a man of the cloth. You gave that cab driver a gold staff and a silk robe. Surely, I rate higher than a cabby.” St. Peter responded matter-of-factly: “Here we are interested in results. When you preached, people slept. When the cabby drove his taxi, people prayed.”

Websites of the week

1)Dr. Bryant Pitro’s commentary on Cycle B Sunday Scripture: https://catholicproductions.com/blogs/mass-readings-explained-year-b

2Video Sunday-Scripture study by Fr. Geoffrey Plant:


3) Fr. Don’ collection of video homilies & blogs: https://lectiotube.com/

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25- Additional anecdotes: # 1: Preachers rejected: Ezekiel and Jesus. Ezekiel was called to be both priest and prophet to his people during the most devastating time in their history. Six short years after he began preaching to them in the year 587 B.C., the holy city of Jerusalem was captured and was with the Temple, destroyed, while just about every last person in Israel was carried off in chains to exile in Babylon. What is worse, Ezekiel saw it coming and told the people. He told them it was God’s way of punishing them for being so thick-skulled and hard-hearted (3.7). Predictably, they refused to listen. This was the good news according to Ezekiel! This was the hand God asked this preacher to play! The chosen people didn’t believe him, of course, even when the Babylonians started setting fire to their homes and hacking down the carved pillars in their beautiful Temple. They stubbornly denied the truth about themselves the whole time they were dragged off, kicking and screaming to Babylon. And it was not until there, years later, with no Temple in which to offer sacrifice and no other sacred rituals permitted to them that they began meeting in Ezekiel’s house (8.1), where this bug-eyed prophet also learned how to become their priest. Softened up by the experience of desolation they could no longer deny, they began, for the first time, to listen to this old friend who had never given up on them and who reminded them of the God Who had no intention of giving up on them either. — Today’s Gospel tells us how Jesus, the real Messiah, was rejected by the people of fellow-townsmen in Nazareth. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

# 2: Scientist rejected: George Washington Carver was an African-American scientist who did some pioneering work on the lowly peanut. In January, 1921, he was called before the Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives to explain his work. He expected such a high-level committee to handle the business at hand with him and those who had come with him with dignity and proper decorum. He was shocked when the speakers who preceded him were treated very rudely. As an African American, he was the last one on the list, and so after three days of waiting, he finally got to make his presentation. He was shocked when he noticed one of the members with his hat on and feet on the table. When the Chairman asked him to take off his hat, the member said out loud, “Down where I come from, we don’t accept a black man’s testimony. And furthermore, I don’t see what this fellow can say that would have any bearing on the work of this committee.” At this point, George was ready to turn around and go home, but he said to himself, as he wrote in his autobiography, “Whatever they said of me, I knew that I was a child of God, and so I prayed ‘Almighty God, let me carry out Your will'”. He got to the podium and was told that he had 20 minutes to speak. Well, his presentation was so engaging that he was granted several extensions until he had spoken for several hours. At the end of his talk, everyone on the committee stood and applauded him. (“More Telling Stories, Compelling Stories by William J. Bausch). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

3) The vocation of the prophet and the fear of rejection: John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States and the son of a former President, reportedly said that he would rather clean filth from the street than become the President. The Old Testament tells us that most of the prophets shared John Quincy Adams’ hesitation about their calling, probably for fear of rejection or failure. Moses tried to convince God that he stammered and, hence, could not become Israel’s leader. Jeremiah complained to God that he was too young. The prophets trembled at the trials ahead of them, and that with good reason: (II Chr 36:16, Jer 2: 30, Am 2:12, Mt 23:37, Lk 13:34, I Thes 2: 15, Heb 11: 32 ff.). Jeremiah was threatened with death several times, thrown into a dry cistern, imprisoned, dragged off to exile in Egypt, and, perhaps most painful of all, was forced to watch the destruction of Jerusalem, because its inhabitants would not listen to his message. At least twice in his lifetime, the prophet Elijah gave the warning of God to King Ahab concerning the king’s promotion of idolatry. As a result, Elijah was forced to flee into the wilderness where he suffered great privation (I Kgs 16: 29- 17: 3; I Kgs 18: 16 – 19: 4). — Today’s Gospel gives another example of why the prophets did not jump for joy at their career prospects. It describes in five sentences how the people of Nazareth turned from amazement to furious indignation at Jesus’ statement of the Truth, hinting at a Messianic identity. Speaking God’s Truth is a risky business even today. It results in arrests and persecution in Communist and Islamic countries. In developed countries, insulting the religious beliefs and practices of Christians is perpetrated in the name of the freedom of speech. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

4) A prophet is not accepted in his own country: When Martin Luther King, Jr., came preaching to the people in our country, he did not say anything new. His message was 200 years old, as given in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold it to be self-evident, … that all people are created equal.” Dr. King looked out and saw people who were not treated as equals. He perceived others for whom this truth was not self-evident. So he went from city to city and said, “Today is the day when we will take seriously our own Declaration of Independence.” Gunshots rang out and cut him down. — Why? What radical act did he commit which took his life? In the tradition of the Bible’s prophets, he reminded people of what they already knew and said, “Today is the day.” Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

5) Rejected by the Amish Community: The book Crossing Over is the story of the rejection one woman faced when she fell in love with a person outside the Amish Community and ran away to marry him. Ruth Garrett had always been a little rebellious, but not even she could imagine the pain she was about to experience from being shunned by her family and community. -– Rejection: even the word, has a foreboding sound. Sadly, it is an experience with which most, if not all, of us, are painfully familiar. Everybody experiences rejection sometimes. It may come from a boss, from a peer, from a lover, from a Church, even from strangers who communicate clearly that you are not welcome in certain circles. Today’s Gospel explains how Jesus experienced rejection by fellow-townsmen in Nazareth. hometown. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

6) Rejected scientists: Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist widely, regarded as the most important scientist of the 20th century. He was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect in 1905 and “for his services to Theoretical Physics.” Most of us take Albert Einstein’s name as synonymous with genius, but he didn’t always show such promise. Einstein did not speak until he was four and did not read until he was seven, causing his teachers and parents to think him mentally handicapped, slow, and anti-social. Eventually, he was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. In 1905, the University of Bern flunked a Ph.D. dissertation because it was fanciful and irrelevant. The young Ph.D. student who received the bad news was Albert Einstein. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

Thomas Edison developed many devices which greatly influenced life in the 20th century. Edison is considered one of the most prolific inventors in history, holding 1,093 U.S patents to his name. But in his early years, teachers told Thomas Edison that he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Work was no better, as he was fired from his first two jobs for not being productive enough. Even as an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. Of course, all those unsuccessful attempts finally resulted in the design that worked.

Isaac Newton was the greatest English mathematician of his generation. His work on optics and gravitation made him one of the greatest scientists the world has even known. Many thought that Isaac was born a genius, but he wasn’t! When he was young, he did very poorly in grade school, so poorly that his teachers were clueless as to how to improve his grades. When he was put in charge of running the family farm, he failed miserably, so poorly in fact that an uncle took charge and sent him off to Cambridge where he finally blossomed into the scholar we know today.

In his early years, Charles Darwin gave up on having a medical career and was often chastised by his father for being lazy and too dreamy. Darwin himself wrote, “I was considered by all my masters and my father, a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard of intellect.” Perhaps they judged too soon, as Darwin today is well-known for his scientific studies. But most people would agree that he caught on pretty well in the end, winning, not the Nobel Prize (first awarded some 30 years after his death, and never posthumously) [Facebook: the Nobel Prize] but the Copley Medal, the Wollaston Medal, and the Royal Medal and being made a Fellow of the Royal Society, on the strength of his seminal book, On the Origins of Species.] . (http://www.onlinecollege.org/2010/02/16/50-famously-successful-people-who-failed-at-first/). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

7) Rejected politicians: Winston Churchill: This Nobel Prize-winning, twice-elected Prime Minster of the United Kingdom, wasn’t always as well regarded as he is today. Churchill struggled in school and failed the sixth grade. In 1894, the rhetoric teacher at Harrow in England wrote on a 16-year old’s grade card: “A conspicuous lack of success.” The name on the top of the card was that of young Winston Churchill. After school he faced many years of political failures, as he was defeated in every election for public office until he finally became the Prime Minister at the ripe old age of 62. Abraham Lincoln: While today he is remembered as one of the greatest leaders of our nation, Lincoln’s life wasn’t so easy. He received no more than 5 years of formal education throughout his lifetime. In his youth he went to war a captain and returned a private (if you’re not familiar with military ranks, just know that private is as low as it goes.) Lincoln joined politics and had 12 major failures before he was elected the 16th President of the United States of America.
(http://www.onlinecollege.org/2010/02/16/50-famously-successful-people-who-failed-at-first/) Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

8) Rejected businessmen: Henry Ford: His first two automobile companies failed. That did not stop him from incorporating Ford Motor Company and being the first to apply assembly-line manufacturing to the production of affordable automobiles in the world. He not only revolutionized industrial production in the United States and Europe, he also had enormous influence over the 20th century economy and society. His combination of mass production, high wages and low prices to consumers initiated a management school known as “Fordism.” He became one of the three most famous and richest men in the world during his time. But his early businesses failed and left him broke five times before he founded the successful Ford Motor Company. Bill Gates didn’t seem like a shoe-in for success after dropping out of Harvard and starting a failed first business with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen called Traf-O-Data. While this early idea didn’t work, Gates’ later work did, creating the global empire that is Microsoft. Today Walt Disney rakes in billions from merchandise, movies and theme parks around the world, but Walt Disney himself had a bit of a rough start. He was fired by a newspaper editor because, “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” After that, Disney started a number of businesses that didn’t last too long and ended with bankruptcy and failure. He kept plugging along, however, and eventually found a recipe for success that worked. (http://www.onlinecollege.org/2010/02/16/50-famously-successful-people-who-failed-at-first/) Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

9) Rejected media moguls: Oprah Winfrey: Most people know Oprah as one of the most iconic faces on TV as well as one of the richest and most successful women in the world. Oprah faced a hard road to get to that position, however, enduring a rough and often abusive childhood as well as numerous career setbacks, including being fired from her job as a television reporter because she was “unfit for TV.” Charlie Chaplin: It’s hard to imagine film without the iconic Charlie Chaplin, but his act was initially rejected by Hollywood studio chiefs because they felt it was a little too nonsensical to ever sell. Sidney Poitier: After his first audition, Poitier was told by the casting director, “Why don’t you stop wasting people’s time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?” Poitier vowed to show him that he could make it, going on to win an Oscar and become one of the most well-regarded actors in the business. Marilyn Monroe: While Monroe’s star burned out early, she did have a period of great success in her life. Despite a rough upbringing and being told by modeling agents that she should instead consider being a secretary, Monroe became a pin-up, model and actress that still strikes a chord with people today. Walter Disney was American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, and animator. One of the most well-known motion picture producers in the world, Disney founded a production company. The corporation, now known as The Walt Disney Company, makes average revenue of US $30 billion annually.
(http://www.onlinecollege.org/2010/02/16/50-famously-successful-people-who-failed-at-first/ & http://EzineArticles.com/862208).) Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

10) Rejected writers and artists: J. K. Rowling may be rolling in a lot of Harry Potter dough today, but before she published the series of novels she was nearly penniless, severely depressed, divorced, trying to raise a child on her own while attending school and writing a novel. Rowling went from depending on welfare to survive to being one of the richest women in the world in a span of only five years through her talent, hard work, and determination. Recluse and poet Emily Dickinson is a commonly read and loved writer. Yet in her lifetime she was all but ignored, having fewer than a dozen poems published out of her almost 1,800 completed works. Ludwig van Beethoven, a German composer of classical music, is widely regarded as one of history’s supreme composers. His reputation has inspired – and in many cases intimidated – composers, musicians, and audiences who were to come after him. Before the start of his career, Beethoven’s music teacher once said of him “as a composer, he is hopeless”. And during his career, he lost his hearing yet he managed to produce great music – a deaf man composing music! Ironic, isn’t it! (http://EzineArticles.com/862208). Steven Spielberg is an American film director. He has won 3 Academy Awards and ranks among the most successful filmmakers in history. Most of all, Spielberg was recognized as the financially most successful motion picture director of all time. During his childhood, Spielberg dropped out of junior high school. He was persuaded to come back and was placed in a learning-disabled class. He only lasted a month and then dropped out of school forever. (http://EzineArticles.com/862208). Elvis Presley: As one of the best-selling artists of all time, Elvis has become a household name even years after his death. But back in 1954, Elvis was still a nobody, and Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after just one performance telling him, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.” The Beatles: Few people can deny the lasting power of this super group, still popular with listeners around the world today. Yet when they were just starting out, a recording company decided against them, making two points: “we don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out,” — with which the rest of the world couldn’t have disagreed more.

In 1902, the Atlantic Monthly’s poetry editor returned a batch of poems to a 28-year old poet with a bitter note: “Our magazine has no room for your vigorous verse.” The poet was Robert Frost. (http://www.onlinecollege.org/2010/02/16/50-famously-successful-people-who-failed-at-first/) Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

11)Rejected athletes: Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player of all time. A phenomenal athlete with a unique combination of grace, speed, power, artistry, improvisational ability, and an unquenchable competitive desire, Jordan single-handedly redefined the NBA superstar. Before joining the NBA, Jordan was just an ordinary person, so ordinary that was cut from his high school basketball team because of his “lack of skill.” Luckily, Jordan didn’t let this setback stop him from playing the game, and he has stated, “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Stan Smith: This tennis player was rejected from even being a lowly ball boy for a Davis Cup tennis match because event organizers felt he was too clumsy and uncoordinated. Smith went on to prove them wrong, showcasing his not-so-clumsy skills by winning Wimbledon, the U. S. Open and eight Davis Cups. (http://www.onlinecollege.org/2010/02/16/50-famously-successful-people-who-failed-at-first/) Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

12) Preaching the Good News to the poor: The story is told of a Franciscan monk in Australia assigned to be the guide and “gofer” to Mother Teresa when she visited New South Wales. Thrilled and excited at the prospect of being so close to this great woman, he dreamed of how much he would learn from her and what they would talk about. But during her visit, he became frustrated. Although he was constantly near her, the friar never had the opportunity to say one word to Mother Teresa. There were always other people for her to meet. Finally, her tour was over, and she was due to fly to New Guinea. In desperation, the Franciscan friar spoke to Mother Teresa: “If I pay my own fare to New Guinea, can I sit next to you on the plane so I can talk to you and learn from you?” Mother Teresa looked at him. “You have enough money to pay airfare to New Guinea? she asked. “Yes,” he replied eagerly. “Then give that money to the poor,” she said. “You’ll learn more from that than anything I can tell you.” — Mother Teresa understood that Jesus’ ministry was to the poor and she made it hers as well. She knew that they more than anyone else needed Good News. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

13) “He has sent me to release the oppressed…” You will cry if you watch the film Amazing Grace. It’s the moving story of William Wilberforce and his life-long struggle against slavery in the Parliament of England. This young man of unusual ability and noteworthy power relentlessly appealed to the consciences of sophisticated people to stop what no normal person could stand to embrace. He literally gave his life trying to set people free. What the movie does not include is the fact that slavery was finally, fully outlawed in England on July 26, 1833. William Wilberforce died July 29, 1833. — Lest we think slavery to be a problem of the past, in our own time, there are eighteen to twenty thousand people trafficked in the U.S. each year for forced labor or prostitution. There are twenty-seven million enslaved people worldwide, eighty percent of them women and over half, children under eighteen.

A sub-plot in Amazing Grace movie is the life of John Newton, the preacher behind Wilberforce. A slave trader himself, Newton lives out the latter years of his life with the ghosts of twenty thousand slaves haunting him in the night. But as he proclaims in the movie, “I am a great sinner, but I found a Great Savior.” — I don’t think I’ll ever sing about the “amazing grace that saved a wretch like me” the same again. Jesus Christ can do that for you and me. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

14) Familiarity breeds contempt: People come from all over the world to tour Yellowstone National Park, and yet there is a man living in Livingston, Montana, I understand, just 56 miles away, who never set foot in the park until he was in middle adulthood. There are people in New York City who have never visited the Statue of Liberty. People come from all around the world to visit Disneyland, yet there are residents of Anaheim, California who have never gone the few blocks to visit “the happiest place on earth.” — There are those in the Church who know Jesus the same way that an apartment dweller in New York City may know about a neighbor living in the apartment above, but has never spoken to that neighbor in the 25 years they have shared the same roof. One can be too close to something. It may come as a surprise to you, but ministers have a difficult time worshipping. They are too close to the action. They know all of the things which can, (and sometimes do), go wrong. They are too close to the trees to experience the forest. So were Jesus’ townspeople as described in today’s Gospel. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

15) “I have a dream,” Jesus at Nazareth: A young boy of 9 was sitting in his father’s workshop watching his dad work on a harness. “Someday Father,” said Louis, “I want to be a harness-maker, just like you.” “Why not start now?” said the father. He took a piece of leather and drew a design on it. “Now” he said, “take the hole-punch and hammer out this design but be careful that you don’t hit your hand.” Excited, the boy began to work, but when he hit the hole-punch, it flew out of his hand and pierced his eye! He lost his sight in that eye. Later, as fate would have it, sight in the other eye failed. Louis was now totally blind. A few years later, Louis was sitting in the family garden when a friend handed him a pinecone. As he ran his sensitive fingers over the cone, an idea came to him. He became enthusiastic and began to create an alphabet of raised dots on paper so that the blind could feel and interpret. Thus, Louis Braille in 1818 opened up a whole new world for the blind. — What is it that Jesus intends to do during his three years of ministry? It is this: To open up a whole new world for you and for me. To bring us out of our poverty that has long held us down and to restore vision that you and I have long since lost. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

16) Announcing freedom to the prisoners: Kazimerz Symanski of Poland was a prisoner of war during World War II. There is no record of what happened to Symanski in the prison camp, but his experiences there obviously changed him. In his later years, Symanski seemed bent on reliving his prison experience. He even turned his small apartment into a prison cell. He put bars over the windows and constructed a small cage in which he slept. He refused to allow electricity or running water in his apartment. He seemed determined to live in the most primitive and confining conditions. Symanski died in 1993 from the effects of his living conditions. (Oswald Chambers in “The Moral Foundations of Life” Christianity Today, Vol. 32, #13.) — Some of us, too, have been living for years in prison cells of our own making. We are bound by addictions, anxiety, low self-esteem, anger, fear, guilt, misconceptions about God. Jesus proclaims in today’s Gospel that he came to liberate all such prisoners. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

17) A different kind of prophet: In one of his books, David Buttrick tells about a cartoon in a magazine. The cartoon shows three men sitting in a row behind a long table. A microphone has been placed in front of each of them. One man is pictured in long flowing hair and a draped white robe. Another is battered, a wreath of jagged thorns on his head. The third is swarthy, with dark curly hair and a pointed nose. The caption said, “Will the real Jesus Christ please stand?” [David Buttrick, Preaching Jesus Christ (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988), p. 23.] — Everybody sees Jesus from a different angle, including the writers of the New Testament. For Matthew, Jesus is the Teacher of Righteousness. Like Moses, Jesus climbs a mountain and teaches a new Law to all present. For the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is an Exorcist, constantly battling the powers of evil. Jesus is the Strong Son of God turned loose in the world. According to the Gospel of John, Jesus comes to reveal God. “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, Who is close to the Father’s heart, Who has made God known” (John 1:18). But for the writer of Luke’s Gospel, the word that best summarizes the person and work of Jesus is the word “prophet.” Jesus is a prophet. But Jesus is a different kind of prophet, standing squarely within the tradition of the prophets of Israel. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

18) Rejection hurts: Arnold Palmer played his last Master’s Tournament in 2002. Palmer, who won the Master’s in 1958, 1960, 1962, and 1964, had seen his game slip away with age and his stardom fade with the rise of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson . A reporter asked Palmer, “Why did you do it? Why did you quit?” To which Palmer replied, “I didn’t want to get the letter that (former champions) Ford, Brewer, and Casper have already received asking them to step down.” –Whether it’s that girl in elementary school who looked at you in disdain when you offered her a Valentine card, or the boss that suggests you are not included in the company’s new plans, rejection hurts. It causes pain. Yet, Jesus said it’s going to happen, and we would be wise to live with it, for “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” There is some rejection that’s worth the cost. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

19) Enclave of resistance: In September of 1997 there was a groundbreaking service for a Catholic cathedral to be constructed in Los Angeles. The Diocese of Los Angeles commissioned the famous Spanish architect Jose Rafael Moneo to design the building. Their hope was that the cathedral would be completed by the beginning of the third millennium, the year 2000. It was to be a unique witness to the glory of God. There were models of the cathedral at the groundbreaking service, and on the basis of the models, a Los Angeles Times reporter wrote a review of the cathedral. This is a part of what the reporter said: “Moneo is creating an alternate world to the everyday world that surrounds the cathedral, a testimony to grandeur of the human spirit, an antidote to a world that is increasingly spiritually empty.” Then he wrote this sentence: “The cathedral, set in the midst of the secular city, will be an enclave of resistance.” — What an image . . . the Church an enclave of resistance!f That word should be a part of the mission statement of every Church in the city, “an enclave of resistance against all that diminishes human life.” Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

20) A rebel on his death bed: There are some folks in every community who criticize anything unpopular a preacher may say (even if the preacher is quoting Jesus) and dismisses his/her words with a shrug and “Of course, you know he/she is a Communist.” Well, at the risk of being called a “Communist,” I’d like to share with you a statement by a Communist this morning. In fact, he was one of the very first Communists. His family name was Vladimir Ilyich Ulanov, but you and I know him as Nikolai Lenin. Late in 1921 he became ill, lost the power of speech, and was obliged to let others rule in his name. Among the things which he wrote in that period were these remarkable words: “I made a mistake… Without doubt, an oppressed multitude had to be liberated. But our method only provoked further oppression and atrocious massacres. My living nightmare is to find myself lost in an ocean red with the blood of innumerable victims. It is too late now to alter the past, but what was needed to save Russia was ten Francis of Assisi’s.” [Quoted in Why Jesus Never Had Ulcers, Robert M. Holmes, (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1986), p. 89.] Or one Jesus Christ!! One Carpenter from Nazareth. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

21) What is the mission of our Church? Rachel Carson’s book, The Sea Around Us, describes the microscopic vegetable life of the sea which provides food for many of the ocean’s smallest creatures. She tells how these little plants drift thousands of miles wherever the currents carry them, with no power or will of their own to direct their own destiny. The plants are named plankton, a Greek word that means “wandering” or “drifting.” Plankton describes the wandering plant life of the ocean. [Robert A. Raines, New Life in the Church (San Francisco: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1961).] — Plankton may also be a good way to define the life of the Church today. We are wandering, adrift. What is our mission as a Church? Why do we exist? From my studies of Jesus’ ministry and teachings, I believe we exist for two reasons: one is to reach individual people with the Good News of God’s love as revealed in Jesus Christ; the second is to influence society to the point that the kingdoms of this earth more closely resemble the Kingdom of God. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

22) A prophet rejected by his people: Some of you have heard about Clarence Jordan, founder of Koinonia Farm in Georgia. He started a peanut farm and tried to run it the same way he thought Jesus would run it. He believed in a good wage for an honest day’s work. He believed in taking care of the land and those who work it. And he believed that all people – black and white – could work together and stand together. It was the early 1950s, and his local Baptist church did not agree with his thoughts on racial equality. One time, an agricultural student from Florida State University visited Koinonia Farm for the weekend. The student was from India, and said, “I’ve never gone to a Christian worship service. I would like to go.” Clarence took him to Rehoboth Baptist Church, and it is reported that “the presence of his dark skin miraculously chilled the hot, humid southern Georgia atmosphere.”4 It didn’t matter that he was from India. He had dark skin, not a red neck -and so he did not fit in. After worship, the pastor drove out to Jordan’s farm and said, “You can’t come with somebody like that. It causes disunity in our Church.” Jordan tried to explain, but the pastor wasn’t listening. Sometime later, a group of Church leaders went out to the farm to plead with Clarence to keep undesirable people out of their Church. They had no patience to hear Jordan’s explanation. When they got back to the Church, they wrote a letter and said, “Mr. Jordan, you are no longer welcome in our Church, because you keep bringing in the wrong kind of people.” [The story is reported by Dallas Lee, The Cotton Patch Evidence: The Story of Clarence Jordan and the Koinonia Farm Experiment (New York: Harper and Row, 1971), pp. 75-76.] Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus was not acceptable to fellow-townsmen in Nazareth because of Jesus’ option for the poor and the Gentiles. But Jesus’ mission extends to the ends of the earth. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

23) “It is some sort of cake!”  The following story narrated by Anthony de Mello in his book, The Song of the Bird, illustrates poignantly the irony contained in today’s Gospel reading (Mk 6:1-6). Nasruddin earned his living selling eggs. Someone came to his shop one day and said, “Guess what I have in my hand.” “Give me a clue,” said Nasruddin. “I shall give you several: It has the shape of an egg, the size of an egg. It looks like an egg, tastes like an egg, and smells like an egg. Inside it is yellow and white. It is liquid before it is cooked, becomes thick when heated. It was, moreover, laid by a hen.” “Aha! I know!” said Nasruddin. “It is some sort of cake!”        —   It is ironic. The expert misses the obvious. And it was also an irony that the neighbors of Jesus of Nazareth missed the obvious., for they thought they knew every detail about “the carpenter’s son.” In purporting to have complete knowledge of Jesus’ personal data, they ended up showing their ignorance. Their knowledge of “the carpenter, the son of Mary” was superficial. — Their prejudice prevented them from believing and responding to the Christ, the Son of God. (Lectio Divina). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

24) Obstacles overcome to become heroes: So many of the people whom we regard of as great have had tremendous obstacles to overcome on their respective paths to greatness. John Milton was blind. Beethoven and Thomas Edison were deaf. Alexander the Great, Alexander Pope, Stephen A. Douglas, and Franklin D. Roosevelt were crippled. Cervantes stuttered and Abraham Lincoln failed in two businesses, had a nervous breakdown, was rejected from law school, lost four jobs and eight elections before he was elected president of the United States. — In today’s second reading, Paul tells his Corinthian readers (and us) that his path, too, was fraught with struggles; however, it is difficult to determine precisely what great apostle meant by the phrases “thorn in the flesh” and “an angel of Satan to beat me” (v. 7). (Sanchez Files) Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

25) The tragedy of unbelief: True story–a man buys an extremely sensitive barometer from a respected company, but when it arrives the needle on the device is pointing to the sector marked hurricane.  After shaking the device several times (never a good idea with a sensitive mechanism), he was unable to get the needle to move.  So, in anger, he sat down and wrote a scathing letter to the company about their faulty product.  As he drove into work the next morning, he mailed his letter.  On returning that evening, not only was his barometer missing, but so was his entire house from a hurricane—September 1938.(Media Library). — Jesus experienced such a tragedy of unbelief and rejection in the Synagogue of Nazareth, as described in today’s Gospel. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

“Scriptural Homilies” Cycle B (No 40) by Fr. Tony: akadavil@gmail.com

Visit my website by clicking on https://frtonyshomilies.com/ for missed or previous Cycle A homilies, 141 Year of Faith “Adult Faith Formation Lessons” (useful for RCIA classes too) & 197 “Question of the Week.” Contact me only at akadavil@gmail.com. Visit https://www.catholicsermons.com/homilies/sunday_homilies  under CBCI or  Fr. Tony for my website version. (Special thanks to Vatican Radio website http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church.html -which completed uploading my Cycle A, B and C homilies in May 2020) Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604

July 4: U. S. Independence Day: Synopsis of Independence Day Homily-2021

  1. This is a day to thank God for the political and religious freedom we enjoy and to pray for God’s special blessings on the rulers and the people of our country.
  2. It is a day to remember with gratitude the founding fathers of our democratic republic, especially, Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, and James Madison, the architect of the Constitution, who believed that all power, including political power, came from God and was given to the people who entrusted this power to their elected leaders.
  3. It is a day to remember and pray for all our brave soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice of their lives to keep this country a safe and a free country, and for those who are now engaged in the fight against

terrorism in other countries.

  1. It is day to remember the basic principle underlined in the constitution, that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
  2. It is day to remind ourselves that we have a duty to protect these God-given rights by voting into power leaders who believe in God and who have character, integrity, experience, and strong belief in inalienable human rights.
  3. It is day to pray and fight for the fundamental right to life denied to pre-born children to grow and develop in their mothers’ wombs and to the sick and the elderly to die gracefully without fearing euthanasia.
  4. It is day to pray for and work for liberation for all those who are still slaves in our free country – slaves to evil habits and addictions to nicotine, alcohol, drugs, pornography, promiscuity and sexual aberrations.
  5. It is a day to take a pledge to become recommitted to doing something about our own growth in Christ, and to living as Americans who contribute something to our religion, Church, country, and the lives of others.
  6. It is a day to remember Whose we are, where we came from, what we stand for, and the sacrifices that thousands of our countrymen have made on our behalf.
  7. It is a day to raise our voice of protest against liberal, agnostic, and atheistic political leaders, media bosses, and activist, liberal judges who deny religious moral education to our young citizens, and to pray for their ongoing conversion, as well as for our own.
  8. It is a day to offer our country and all its citizens on the altar of God, asking for our ongoing conversion and for His special providential care, protection and blessings.

Intercessory prayers

  1. For the people of the United States, that we may be united in building a society in which everyone can have the opportunity to live with dignity and hope, we pray to the Lord. . . .
  2. For the Church, that we may bear witness to Christ’s love by practicing charity and promoting justice and peace throughout the world, we pray to the Lord. . .


  1. For Catholics throughout our nation, that the values of our Faith may guide us as we exercise our responsibility as voters, we pray to the Lord. . . .
  2. For the members of this community, that we may find ways to help build a world of greater respect for human life and human dignity, we pray to the Lord. . . .
  3. For those who serve in elected office, that they may lead with courage and wisdom, reflecting the Church’s teaching that the moral test of our society is how the weak, the poor, and the vulnerable are faring, we pray to the Lord. . . .
  4. For all citizens of the United States, that our participation in the upcoming elections may lead to a world of greater respect for life and commitment to justice and peace, we pray to the Lord. . . .
  5. For those who are suffering from poverty and injustice, that our decisions in the elections this year may lead to policies and programs that help them live in dignity, we pray to the Lord. . . .
  6. For parishioners who have been elected to public office, that they may use their offices to protect the unborn and promote the dignity of the poor and vulnerable, we pray to the Lord. . . .
  7. For the earth, that our nation’s leaders will be inspired by God’s Spirit to protect all of His creation, we pray to the Lord. . . .
  8. For workers around the world, especially children who work long hours for little pay, that we might all seek ways to promote fairness, justice, and dignity in their lives, we pray to the Lord. . . .
  9. For leaders around world, that they may seek and find ways to bring an end to war and violence, and promote peace and development for all nations, we pray to the Lord. . . . (L/21)