Branching Out Blog

'Hear the Word!' by Bill Ayres: 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Bill Ayres on Jul 3, 2021 6:00:00 AM

A reading from the prophecy of Ezekiel

(Chapter 1: 13-15; 2:23-24)

(Chapter 2:2-5)

Throughout history, prophets have emerged during times of stress, enslavement, and destruction. The Spirit of God is in them as we read today about Ezekiel, who was called by God amid the destruction of Israel by the Babylonians in the sixth century BC. The Israelites had refused to listen to the prophets who preceded Ezekiel, and so God is sending him into a most difficult situation.

Who are the prophets today in our world and in our country? They may be famous people like Pope Francis or others that work locally and in obscurity. How can we know? How can we discern among so many voices? Abraham Lincoln is seen as prophetic today, but in his day he was also hated by millions and was murdered for his actions. Being a prophet has never been easy, and false prophets emerge frequently. Who are the real prophets who speak the truth to power and endure rejection and harm to fulfill their mission?

You and I might not consider ourselves prophets, but there may be times when we are called to have the voice of a prophet in our family, our community, our place of work, or our country.  But we should never forget that our words must be truthful, humble, and loving.

Responsorial Psalm

(Psalm 123)

“Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.” One of our most powerful prayers is “Lord, have mercy on me.”

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Topics: eternal life, Reflections on the coming Sunday's Gospel, Prophet Ezekiel, RENEW International, authority of Jesus, Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

'Hear the Word!' by Bill Ayres: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Bill Ayres on Jan 30, 2021 6:00:00 AM

A reading from the book of Deuteronomy

(Chapter 18:15-20)

God has always sent prophets to guide his people, so Moses said, “A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among his own kin; to him you shall listen.” But Moses knew that there would also be false prophets, so he warned the people, “But if a prophet presumes to speak in my name an oracle that I have not commanded him to speak, or speaks in the name of other gods, he shall die.”

Throughout the history of Israel, there were many false prophets but also many genuine prophets who truly spoke the word of the Lord and helped the people in their times of great need. Who are the true prophets and who are the false prophets in our world today? Who speaks the truth and who spews lies? Who calls for healing and reconciliation and who calls for violence and destruction? Whom can we trust in all the dimensions of our lives?

Responsorial Psalm

(Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9)

“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Where and how does the voice of God speak to you? In prayer and in times of quiet, or in conversations with people you trust and sometimes, even with people you do not trust or respect but still have something that strikes you as true and important? The voice of God may come to us from many sources. Let us pray to discern which voices deserve to be heard.

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Topics: Reflections on the coming Sunday's Gospel, Jesus Christ, Moses, RENEW International, Ordinary Time, authority of Jesus, fourth sunday in ordinary time, false prophets

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