Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori
First Reading: Jeremiah 26:1-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 69
Gospel: Matthew 13:54-58
Have you ever heard the term "I might as well be speaking to a brick wall?" I am sure that many of us have felt this way and said this many times; this being especially true when speaking to kids or family members. It can be very frustrating when trying to talk to a loved one who does not seem to want to listen to anything that you have to say. In both of the readings today we see that Jesus and Jeremiah are experiencing this same kind of frustration. In the first reading the prophet Jeremiah is told to tell the people that they need to obey God and listen to Him. But the people rebel against Jeremiah and seek to put him to death. Jesus is back in his hometown preaching to the people there and all they have to say is; "hey isn't this the carpenter's son? When did he get so smart and learn to do all these great deeds?" (not actual scripture reference, just paraphrasing) Because of the people's lack of faith, Jesus then did not work His mighty deeds there.
In each of these cases, Jesus and Jeremiah had important messages for the people, but they were unwilling to listen. Their messages where for the sake of saving the people from themselves, from their sin and wicked ways. They went to the people to try to help them because they loved them. I am sure that most of us have found ourselves in similar situations before; we have someone who we care about hurting themselves or going down a self destructive path. We try to talk to them, but they do not listen, they usually either doubt us or take the mentality of "shooting the messenger." We all know how frustrating it is, and it seems the more that they resist, the more that we want to persist. We want to save these people, but we are completely baffled that they do not see the concern that we have for them.
One thing that we have to remember in every situation is that we have no power to save anyone. If the person is going to be saved, it is through Christ and his great mercy. No I am not saying when you see someone hurting or doing something they shouldn't to just let them alone and say "oh its okay, Jesus will take care of it." He does use us, we are simply the vessels, and it is always important to remember our roles. I believe that when confronted with a situation or before you need to talk with someone, it is always important to pray to God for the strength and courage to confront the situation or person and to ask God, "God what is my role in this? What do you want me to do?" Remember, it all comes from Him!
Our lives are not meant to be easy, and being a Christian does not mean that we will never encounter problems or have to deal with people. We are meant to be spiritual warriors, fighting the good fight for Christ and for His glory. So the next time that you are confronted or you need to confront someone, "do not worry about what you are to say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say." (Luke 12:11-12). It may feel as though you are getting nowhere, but trust in the Lord and in His timing.
Lord Jesus, let us have open hearts and open minds to hear what it is you have to say. Let us be open to you working in our lives and in your plan for us. Lord we ask this all in your name. Amen.