First Reading: Ezekiel 2:2-5
And when he spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me upon my feet; and I heard him speaking to me. And he said to me, “Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to a nation of rebels, who have rebelled against me; they and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. The people also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them; and you shall say to them, `Thus says the Lord GOD.’ And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that there has been a prophet among them.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 123:1-4
To thee I lift up my eyes, O thou who art enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he have mercy upon us. Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt. Too long our soul has been sated with the scorn of those who are at ease, the contempt of the proud.
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Gospel: Mark 6:1-6
He went away from there and came to his own country; and his disciples followed him. And on the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue; and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him? What mighty works are wrought by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching.
Weakness is perceived as poor and pathetic. It is looked down upon in a secular society where heroes and winning reign supreme. To be vulnerable is unheard of and mocked openly. I was taught to never let anyone see me suffer, or rattled. I was to keep a strong facade for anyone who may be looking in my direction. For so long, I had a thick exterior wall up that made lasting relationships, and marriage, completely impossible. I didn’t know how to let anyone in. I was afraid to be seen at my most vulnerable.
I recall the night it all fell apart. I remember the dark place of doubt sitting across from my sleeping husband. I didn’t know if I should cry out amidst my sobbing. I wasn’t Catholic, yet. I wasn’t anything. But the deep silence and the comfort, although small, was there and I sensed it. At the time, I didn’t know that it was God with me in my realization that the hardships I was going through was all my own doing. I felt a peace as the tension of my self-made wall melted away. My heart had opened to the journey in my most vulnerable state. He was waiting for me there, at my worst. Of course, looking back, I see that.
When we are stipped bare of all pretense and defenses and feel our most vulnerable, it is then that we are strong. How can that be? We have only God to rely on in those solitary moments, to reach out to when we are humbled, and hurt. We have only God when we have “thought of and tried everything.” We have God always, but I think, as fallen people, we feel Him presently in those moments of great despair. Jesus suffered so greatly, should we be surprised when we are afflicted a fraction of the amount He was? No.
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
It was when I was at my weakest, that I finally found God. It’s not easy living in that space of vulnerability, but He has helped me to be more comfortable with it. He shares it with me, and has never failed to be there to rely on when there is nothing else.
How can you rely on Him today? What can you strip away to find that still, small, voice of God amidst your suffering? He is there, I promise.
Cristina Trinidad is a married, full-time working mother of two children. A convert to the Catholic faith in 2003, she lived an unequally yoked marriage. Her husband, a former atheist, is now home, this Easter Vigil. She’s also a blog and social media coach. You can find out more about her here.