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Our Lady of Victory / St. Malachy
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Our Lady of Victory
490 Charles Street
Gatineau, Québec
J8L 2K5

Mass:     Sunday   9:00 AM
            Thursday 10:00 AM

St. Malachy
3889 Route 315
Mayo, Québec
J8L 3Z8

Mass: Saturday 7:00 PM





Fr. Albanus’ Reflections on the Sunday Liturgy

The Life of a Prophet
Today’s readings speak to us about the call to be prophets and the rejection the prophets suffer. They also challenge us to face rejection and hardship with prophetic courage. In the first reading, the story of the call of the Prophet Ezekiel tells us what characterizes the life and mission of the prophet. A prophet is a person called by God. The prophet is a “son of man,” a Jewish expression that simply means “a man,” “a weak person,” “a common mortal.” The prophet is not an angel; not a person endowed with special and mysterious faculties. The authority of the prophet to speak in God’s name does not come from his extraordinary ability; it comes from his/her having been chosen and called by the voice of the Lord. A person called by God has a mission to accomplish. The prophet is not asked to work miracles, to foretell the future or to do strange things. God expects the prophet to do just one thing: to announce God’s Word. God has no mouth and so uses the mouths of the prophets to speak to the people. As a condition, the prophet must first listen with great attention to what God tells him/her in the depth of their heart. The prophet is required to announce faithfully what she/he has heard, without changing a thing, without adding anything of their own. Hence, the prophet usually starts the message with: Thus says the Lord. What the prophet says is not his, but God’s. To listen to the prophet is to listen to God and to mock the prophet is to mock God the sender. The prophet is sent to the people who might be well disposed or hostile and stubborn. God here warns Ezekiel that he is being sent to obstinate and rebellious Israelites in exile in Babylon. He will have to face rejection and persecution for announcing God’s message. The prophet should not worry about the outcome of his mission. His is to carry out his mission with dedication.

In the second reading, St. Paul warns us from experience, that not only the prophets but also the apostles and missionaries, will have to encounter hardship and rejection in their preaching mission. Paul as an archetype of the prophets had to face many persecutions, adversities and troubles in discharging his prophetic role. In the passage of today, he speaks about a special difficulty that causes him a lot of humiliation and suffering. Paul calls it something very painful like “a thorn in the flesh.” This could refer to the hostility of a number of his own people, the difficulties they cause him and their opposition to his preaching. The Gospel describes how Jesus was rejected by His own people of Nazareth because He did not meet their expectations as the Messiah or a prophet. They “knew” Him and His family too well. For them God is a strong and powerful king, and so the Messiah, the expected liberator, ought to resemble the great and powerful God who sends Hm. There was therefore little chance that the people of Nazareth could accept Jesus, the carpenter, the son of Mary as one who had been sent by God. And yet they were astounded by His prodigies and wonder which resemble those of the “men of God” of ancient times. There was moreover, a contradiction between the religious tenets the people thought are indisputable and the teaching of this Jesus whose behavior apparently contradicted them. The mistake of the people of Nazareth is to think that God fulfils His plans with instruments humans consider indispensable. We are sure that weak means will bring no or little result and that great feats can be achieved only by great means. But God springs surprises: He accomplishes extraordinary deeds by using what people despise and consider valueless. Such a mistake could be repeated also by our communities today. Sometimes, we have firm religious opinions without worrying whether they are really in line with the Gospel.

How do we react when somebody tries to help us understand better the message of Christ, which may demand a change in our opinions or our lives? Don’t we all find it hard to accept Jesus as He is, without strength and power? We must believe that the power of victory of God comes to us through weakness and defect. Otherwise, Jesus will be unable to work any wonder or prodigy among us; He will not be able to communicate His power of salvation. As baptized, we have a prophetic vocation. We are called to announce to our brothers and sisters the Word of God. We must announce it faithfully, by word and example, to our children, our neighbors, our work colleagues, our brothers and sisters. To be able to do this, we must first listen carefully and devoutly to the word of God, and let it penetrate the inner recesses of our hearts. We must then proclaim it courageously, without changing it, even if the listeners feel disturbed or uneasy. We may be subjected to bitter criticism and even persecution. This is painfully a “thorn in the flesh” as in Paul’s case. God does not usually remove it but He gives the strength to overcome them. God does not free the prophet from the fragility of his human condition, but wants His power to be manifested through the weakness of the instrument. If even Paul had to overcome so much opposition, if he had to accept the limits imposed on him by his physical and spiritual conditions, why should we expect a better or more privileged treatment? Happy Sunday!


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490 Charles Street • Gatineau • Québec • J8L 2K5
Telephone: (819) 986-3763
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