In the readings for Sunday, July 8, we see that when God speaks, people don’t always listen.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
Hard of face and obstinate of heart are they to whom I am sending you.
Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.”
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
Do you ever feel like you’re talking to a wall? Like nobody’s listening? Join the club. God’s not only the president, he’s also a member. In our first reading, the Prophet Ezekiel is going to be sent to speak to Israel on behalf of God. But, before he goes, God gives him a warning: they are “hard of face and obstinate of heart”. They are “a rebellious house.” Sound familiar? Sure—we’ve all been there. And we’ve all been them. But, God says that even if they don’t change, they will know that a prophet has been there. It wasn’t Ezekiel’s job to make them do what God wanted—only to bring the message and plant the seeds. It’s not our job to make people do what we think is right—only to bring God’s message and plant the seeds.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, Paul has a chronic eye condition that he’s asked God to take from him a number of times. God didn’t heal him. Instead, Paul feels that God wants him to be content with the spiritual comfort that God offers, but he will not be healed. Paul says, “when I am weak, I am strong” because he has to rely on God for his strength in that illness. That’s not an easy attitude to take. God didn’t give him that affliction, God didn’t cure it, but God holds him up in the midst of it.
The Gospel is reminiscent of one from a couple of weeks ago—Jesus is home and being rejected. They knew him when he was a kid, and they don’t feel that there was anything particularly remarkable about him then—why should he be such a big shot now? They don’t want to hear his message or have him perform any miracles. They want him to be normal or leave. So, he does. Just like as the first reading, we hear that God will send us what we need, but God won’t require us to be open to receiving it.
Do you ever feel like people don’t listen to you? How does it make you feel? What can you do about it?
Why do you think Jesus was unable to perform many miracles in his hometown? Are you surprised at the reaction of his neighbors?
Do you ever feel like your efforts to spread the Gospel are in vain? How does knowing that this has been going on since the beginning of time make you feel?
What did Paul mean that when he is weak, he is strong? How does belonging to a family give you strength when you are weak?
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”