Pastor’s Corner 7/8/2012

While I am on vacation this month, I offer this Reflection for your consideration.

The prophet Ezekiel reports that “the spirit entered into me and set me on my feet.” God sent him to the Israelites, describing them as “rebels who have rebelled against me…Hard of face and obstinate of heart.” Ouch! But after Ezekiel’s visit, says God, even though “they are a rebellious house—they shall know that a prophet has been among them.” This vision of obstinacy among the Israelites reminds us to pray as the psalmist invites: “To you I lift up my eyes who are enthroned in heaven.” Our hope, as we lift our eyes, is that we be attentive to the mystery of Christ among us.

How very interesting that we find Ezekiel’s report paired today with the gospel story from Saint Mark in which we hear the lament: “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place.” Those who failed to receive Jesus are not unlike those who in Ezekiel’s time were “hard of face and obstinate of heart.”

Luke Timothy Johnson, who teaches New Testament at Emory University, invites us to seek to identify “the ‘powers and principalities’ at work in patterns of social behavior that systematically deceive, enslave, and oppress those who are ‘other’ and vulnerable.” The church’s call is to liberate all God’s people from the deeds and systems that are “intended to hurt God by harming humans.”

God’s own vision of this world transformed in justice and peace prompts us to look for “a new heaven and a new earth, where the fullness of [God’s] peace will shine forth” and in which will be gathered “those of every race and tongue…to share with them the unending banquet of unity.”

In the Collect for today’s Mass, we prayed that the God who has raised a fallen world might “bestow eternal gladness” on those who have been “rescued from slavery to sin.” This cannot happen until we seek to be those people who know that a “prophet has been among them.” Such will be evident when we have devoted ourselves to bringing about this vision of Jesus, when we live in communion with our pope and bishop, “and all the Bishops and [God’s} entire people.” Then the Church will be “a sign of unity and an instrument of [God’s} peace among all people.
William C. Graham, a priest of the Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota,
is professor of historical theology and director of the Braegelman Program
in Catholic Studies at the College of St. Scholastica.
The following priests are ill. They would deeply appreciate your prayers!

Rev. Richard Albarano
Rev. Thomas Anslow, CM
Rev. William Bonner
Rev. Frank Ferrante, CMF
Rev. Matthew Delaney
Rev. Francisco Garcia
Msgr. Joseph Greeley
Msgr. Alfred Hernandez
Rev. Stephen Hernandez
Msgr. John Hughes
Rev. Isaac Kalina, O.S.B.
Rev. Miguel G. Java
Rev. Joseph P. Lee
Msgr. Gerald McSorley
Rev. Thomas Meskill
Msgr. John Mihan
Rev. Anthony Nuanez
Msgr. William O’Toole
Msgr. George Parnassus
Rev. Jorge Peñaloza
Rev. Frank Russo
Rev. Erasmus Soriano
Rev. Mario Torres

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