I meet with families often after a loved one has died in order to plan the funeral. After we choose the readings together I ask the family, “Is there anyone you would like to proclaim the readings?” Occasionally the family is reticent, not because they don’t want to proclaim the readings, but because they are worried that their emotions will overtake them as they proclaim God’s word. I assure them that there is no obligation for them to proclaim the readings and I offer lectors. However, I also share that when I see emotions welling up in people at a funeral, whether tears of sadness or fond laughter upon hearing favorite stories of their loved one, I am encouraged. I am encouraged because it means that these people are truly present to what is happening in their midst.
So often our minds are elsewhere or preoccupied and we can miss the moment. We are not fully present. We can miss the opportunity to experience something truly meaningful that is happening in our midst.
Today we see how both the prophet Ezekiel and Jesus are called to speak a message that their audience may not be ready to hear. Whether it is an encouraging message or a challenging message, the people are not open to what is happening in their midst.
In the gospel today Jesus is trying to share the good news with his own people. Yet the people miss the moment. They fail to recognize Jesus for who he is. Instead, because of their familiarity with him; because they had pre-judged who could convey the amazing truths of God, they miss Jesus’ message and they also miss the opportunity for his healing and forgiveness. It’s a great loss.
The readings today challenge us to be more attentive to the moment. They challenge us to be more present to what God is doing in the here and now. They alert us to the reality that God is active in our midst. Can we open ourselves to respond to the good that God is offering us right here and right now? As Saint Peter Julian Eymard famously said, “God calls me today, tomorrow will be too late.”
You who send your Holy Spirit,
to help us see you active in our midst.
Help us to experience your presence in the here and now.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)