Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 5, 2015
MK 6:1-6

There will be lots of patriotic speeches this weekend as our nation celebrates the freedom we enjoy as Americans. It’s quite likely that those hoping to be the next President of the United States will take the opportunity of this Independence Day weekend to hit the stump and share their vision for our country’s future in as many public events as they possibly can. None of them will tell the crowds: “When I’m President, I promise to WEAKEN the economy. Under my administration, the U.S. Military will be as WEAK as it has ever been in our nation’s history. If you elect me President, I promise to work hard to WEAKEN our relationship with our allies.” There is no promise in the word WEAK unless it’s used to describe a forecasted storm front. Yet, in this Sunday’s Second Reading, St. Paul tells us that there is STRENGTH IN WEAKNESS! How can this be?

It might help to better understand how there can be STRENGTH IN WEAKNESS if we first ponder the opposite. Because the Prophets brought God’s message to people with such strong opinions, convictions, beliefs, and prejudices, they were ignored, ridiculed, and even persecuted. Jesus experienced this kind of resistant STRENGTH when He tried to bring the Good News to His family, friends, and neighbors of Nazareth. Their strong wills caused them to miss the opportunity of hearing God’s Word, delivered to them by God’s Word made flesh…Whom literally “dwelt among them.” Mark 6:1-6 is the classic example of a missed opportunity. Had they been just a little less strong willed, just think of how much more Jesus could have done for them.
As it was, “He was unable to perform any mighty deed there”…apart from healing a few folks who were too weakened from illness to resist!

It seems there, in fact, is promise in the word WEAK…the promise of God’s saving grace. But in order to avail ourselves of the power and strength of that free and unlimited gift, we have to let down our guards, drop our shields, and open our minds and hearts…leaving us totally vulnerable. That kind of weakness does not end in defeat, but rather in the ultimate victory…the victory over sin and death.

STRENGTH might win wars and elections…but WEAKNESS wins eternal salvation!

So on this Independence Day weekend, let us pray in thanksgiving that our founders were strong enough to win our freedom, but at the same time, weak enough to proclaim: IN GOD WE TRUST!