Saturday, June 15, 2024

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Rejections and Denials…(14th Sunday of Ordinary Time)-Video


Fr. T J. Puliyan, MSFS

Walt Disney was fired from one of his first animation jobs at Kansas City Star by his editor in 1919, and the reason was that “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas”. After that, Disney started an animation studio, Laugh-O-Gram Studio, however, it went bankrupt in 1923 before practically any of his cartoons were released. But he never gave up on his dream.

Disney moved to Hollywood, after that he and his brother Roy formed the Disney Brothers Studio‍, ‌which later became the Walt Disney Company, which became one of the best-known motionpicture production companies in the world.

This is not the story of Walt Disney alone but the story of several famous and successful people who experienced rejection, such as Albert Einstein, Beethoven, Charles Darvin, Thomas Edison, Vince Lombardi, etc.  They were all people with initial challenges and slow learning but they all eventually became very successful people and became inspirations and models to the rest of the world.

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 and conviction.

The first reading, from the book of the prophet Ezekiel (2:2-5), 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. 

This reading warns us that, as Christians who accept the Way of Jesus and seek to follow it, may also face indifference, hostility, contempt, scorn, weakness, hardship, persecution, insults, and rejection. In the second reading, St. Paul (2Cor12:7-10) 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, “athorn in the flesh,” a chronic illness that causes physical suffering, that he might rely solely on God’s grace in all his work. The apostle invites us to rise above our weaknesses and disabilities, cooperating with the grace of God and proclaiming His message by word and example.

The Gospel according to Mark, (6:1-6), tells us the response and reaction of people to Jesus’ mission and ministry in his own hometown, Nazareth. It was usual for Jesus to visit his home in Nazareth, as a rabbi with his disciples. Jesus’ popularity as a preacher and miracle worker in other places of Galilee had reached Nazareth.

As a Rabbi, he was invited to his local synagogue to read from the Prophets and explain the text.  Jesus took upon Himself the identity of a prophet, different from the image of a miracle worker. They were astonished at first by his words and wisdom;however, they did not accept him as a prophet because they “knew” him and his family.

They also assumed that this “son of the carpenter” could not be the promised Messiah who is supposed to come from Bethlehem as a descendant of David’s royal family. They were upset with Jesus as he did not perform any miracles in Nazareth but chided them with prophetic courage for their lack of Faith.

This rejection story of Jesus is not only His story but mine and yours as well. There are occasions in our personal, family, professional, and social lives where we have faced with similar kinds of rejections, such as the pain of rejection caused by hurts, wounds, betrayal, divorce, abandonment, violated trust, trauma, neglect, or abuse in its various forms.

Our experience of rejection by those most significant people in our lives, like our friends, families, siblings, parents, or childhood companions fail to listen to and refuse to accept, the words of grace, love, and encouragement that we try to offer them.

They are so familiar with us that they are unable to see us as God’s instruments for His grace and blessing. We blindfold ourselves with our prejudice, pride, and preconceived ideas. This weekend reading invites us to see the other side of our daily realities and acknowledge others. God’s blessings can sometimes come to us even through our foes and enemies.  

Let us pray in a special way for the United States of America as we are celebrating the Independence Day this weekend.

Have a blessed weekend..!   

May God bless us all..!

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