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First Reading – On Being a Prophet

‘The first reading this Sunday from the prophet Ezekiel reminds us that we too are called by God prophets just as he was in his day. This is an essential part of our identity as Christians - anointed as priests, kings and prophets at our baptism. To be a prophet is to bring the truth of God’s Word to bear in every time and circumstance. It is to make room for God, his wisdom and the Gospel of Christ in our lives, families and culture. Prophets protect us from a dark side of our human nature that is intent on doing our own thing, of not listening and doing everything except admit we were wrong. The people of Ezekiel’s time are described as obstinate, defiant and as rebels. The Church and the world need prophets to save us from our own hardness of heart’.

Fr Billy Swan


Second Reading – On Human Weakness

‘Could there have been any greater mercy shown to us unhappy men than that which led the Creator of the heavens to come down among us, and the Creator of the earth to take on our mortal body? That same mercy led the Lord of the world to assume the nature of a servant, so that, being himself bread, he would suffer hunger; being himself satiety, he would thirst; being himself power, he would know weakness; being himself salvation, he would experience our woundedness, and being himself life, he would die. All this he did to assuage our hunger, alleviate our longing, strengthen our weaknesses, wipe out our sins and enkindle our charity”

St Augustine, Sermon 207


‘We therefore discover within ourselves the interior person with its qualities, talents, worthy desires and ideals; but we also discover our weaknesses, our vices, our evil inclinations: selfishness, pride and sensuality. We perfectly understand how much the first of these aspects of our humanity needs to be developed and strengthened, and how much instead the second one must be overcome, combatted and transformed. In this way—in living contact with Jesus, the contact of the disciple with the Master—there begins and develops the most sublime activity of man: work on himself that aims at the formation of his own humanity’.

Pope St John Paul II

‘We are not’ St John Paul II remarked ‘the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son’.


Pope St John Paul II


Gospel – On Faith

‘The Gospel this Sunday contains an extraordinary detail, the significance of which we can easily miss. Jesus was among his own but ‘could work no miracle there’ because of the lack of faith of his own people. Notice that the lack of faith they displayed was not that God didn’t exist or bigger questions like this. After all, they were gathered in the synagogue. Rather, their lack of faith showed itself in prejudice against him because of his background. This implies that God’s power and ways are impeded and frustrated when we are lacking in faith; when we judge and are not open to God revealing himself in new people and new ways. Contrast this to last Sunday’s Gospel when the faith of Jarius and the woman with the hemorrhage did reach out, trusted and received what they asked for and more. God is powerfully at work in our lives but his power does not bypass our faith. He woos us with his love that comes first but doesn’t go where he isn’t welcome. Our faith is our ‘Yes’ to his ‘Yes’ that comes first’.


Fr Billy Swan


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