..if you watch an espionage film of 60/70yrs ago, the spymaster would secretly meet one of his senior agents to give him instructions & vitally the password; it would be written on a small piece of paper; spy would have to read it, memorise it, then eat piece of paper; no paper trail no evidence; from then on password becomes key part in life of spy & future of plot & its success; read it/remember it/live it/tell it.. in 1st rdg Holy Spirit commissions prophet Ezekiel in his work as a divine agent, a prophet.. “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites..to the rebels who have turned against me” ..& few lines further on from our reading God prepares Ezekiel for his mission then tells him.. “open your mouth & eat what I am about to give you” ..it is no longer just read/heard it is consumed..it becomes part of the prophet & through his/her words part of the listener..part of you..each of you a prophet..as you listen to me now, remember it/live it & tell it..
“..the spirit came into me & made me stand up; I heard the Lord speaking to me” ; Lord have mercy “.. I am sending you to the rebels who have turned against me..” ; Christ have mercy “ .the sons are defiant & obstinate; I am sending you to them..” ; Lord have mercy
May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..two weekends ago, he faced wrath of storm & of his closest followers, for being sound asleep in back of boat “do you not care that we are going down?” & his response to their gruffness “why are you so frightened? how is it you have no faith?” last weekend he upset them again because, in middle of vast teeming crowd, someone touched him & he asked them “who touched me?” & they scoffed at his stupidity “you see how the crowd is pressing round, & yet you say “who touched me?” ..the unclean woman then self-referred as if in confession “she fell at his feet & told him whole truth” & instead of sniffily, judgementally, throwing book at her, he welcomed her home spiritually “my daughter, your faith has restored you to health; go in peace & be free from your complaint” & now in gospel, a third group, high on familiarity, thin on faith..”this is the carpenter’s son, surely, the son of Mary [notice no mention of Joseph] brother of James Joset Jude, & as last week, the women remain unnamed..not worth it..”his sisters too, are they not with us..”& they [like wobbling disciples in boat, sea-sick & faith-sick..disciples in crowd with no faith/ no appetite to find the needle in the haystack ] “..& they would not accept him” .. “he could work no miracles there” no calming of storm, no healing of Jairus’ daughter or woman with haemorrhage, no healing in Sacrament of Reconciliation, if you don’t believe..if you have no faith in words on the tin “my daughter/my son your faith has restored you to health, go in peace & be free of your complaint” ..some of us would rather remain complainers than be freed of our complaint.. & neither Jesus in gospel nor St Paul in 2nd rdg were to give up on the complainers..give in to the familiar & the faithless; the Good News was far too good to be muted by the defenders of a comfortable status quo..when Good News could be tamed domesticated by reading it through rose tinted spectacles, contained to a weekly Sabbath visit to a clean & tidy Temple.. “I was given a thorn in the flesh, to beat me & stop me from getting too proud. I pleaded with the Lord three times for it/for them to leave me but he said “my grace is enough for you; my power is at its best in weakness” in more familiar phraseology “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”..”do you not care we are going down? “who touched me?” “& they would not accept him” the Lords words to Paul, his divine credentials scrutinised & authorised in authentic discipleship.. “my grace & your weakness in partnership” ..& the miracle happens.. & the divine vaccine which Our Lord injects, not into your arm but into your heart, is called faith..& the sooner many of us choose to take up the invitation, to all ages, to visit our spiritual covid pop-up centre of a Saturday morning, the sooner rest of us will begin to feel a level of assurance in here, immunised by the preventative double dose we call faith.. “he was amazed at their lack of faith.. the deal, the offer on the altar, here & now, is “my grace & your faith”..& the miracle happens..His grace & your belief, & a piece of bread tastes divine.. despised in his own county, among his own parishioners & in his own Church.. “he could work no miracles there..he was amazed at their lack of faith..” ..the words feelings of the spymaster himself or of his agent? or of them both together?..