Dear Friends,

I pray that you and your loved ones enjoyed a blessed and safe 4th of July. Having the holiday fall in the middle of the week makes it tough to know which weekend the holiday might get attached to it. In any case, as my granddad would always tell us kids teasingly, “summer is half over” when you get to the 4th.

Although it may seem that way, there are many more summer weeks ahead, which I hope will be beneficial to all of us spiritually, mentally and physically before the full schedule of Fall sets in. Be sure to take time to enjoy the glorious blessings of creation and to give thanks to our Almighty Father!

Turning to our Scriptures this weekend, we encounter Ezekiel being told by God some 2500 years ago to proclaim the truth even though the people would reject it. Then in our Gospel Jesus encounters resistance and a lack of faith from the hometown crowd. They refused to accept the Messiah of God even though He stood there in front of them. They thought since they “knew” Him, He could not be the Messiah.

Finally, in our second reading, Paul speaks to the fact that despite the many blessings and revelations God granted to him, he struggled with a “thorn in the flesh.” He confesses his weakness and yet the Lord revealed how God’s power works through human weakness.

We have no superiority over Paul or Ezekiel. We are weak, we encounter obstinacy, we struggle personally. Nonetheless, we are responsible to be cooperators with God, sharing God’s truth, God’s love, God’s mercy, God’s healing. It’s not an option as a disciple, despite the challenges involved in such a fractious and self-absorbed world.

Feeling a bit incredulous or overwhelmed? Take the example of an old violin, dusty, dirty, its strings a bit loose. It looks like nothing of value, nothing of worth. But when the

Master picks it up, brushes it off, tightens the strings, beautiful and stirring music emanates forth. We are like that violin. The work of the Kingdom is not about you and I but about what the Master will do through you and I.

When we come to Him, He dusts us off, tightens the strings and produces His music for others to hear. While we are unworthy in and of ourselves; His touch upon us allows His work to be accomplished through us. This is discipleship, surrendering to the Lord and letting Him do His work on us and through us!

God bless you, God love you,

Monsignor McCulken

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