Remember that saying we learned as children? Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will ever hurt you. Probably you and I learned pretty early in life that this saying is not true! Rejection hurts. We all face rejection, often delivered with words. A special kind of rejection runs through all three of our Sunday readings. It is the rejection that comes when we stand for the right thing, the better thing, when we live by virtues like honesty, compassion, generosity and the other things Jesus taught us. People will not always support us or like us for this, and they will not speak kindly to us or about us. Ezekiel, in our first reading, is told by God to keep preaching even though people will not heed him and will resist; Paul, in 2 Corinthians, talks about a personal affliction that makes him rely on God’s power as he bears “insults, hardships, persecutions” for Christ. In the Gospel, people “take offense at Jesus” as someone from a lowly family who presumes to speak to them of God. Today our national July Fourth holiday finds us as a country coming to a heightened awareness of systemic injustice issues. There have been many prophets over many years who have brought us to this awareness, raising concerns about things like racism, sexism, clericalism, the degradation of our environment and other issues. And as a result, many of these people experienced rejection and ridicule within their relationships and employment in both Church and society, and some even died. As we give thanks for our country today, may we also give thanks for the prophets who have and still do make us aware and uncomfortable!
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia