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Reflection – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time Jul 5, 2024

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel-Mark-6-1-6

What Will People Think?

Over the past couple of weeks, Jesus has been on a bit of a roll – calming the sea, last week curing the women and healing the young child. All pretty impressive stuff. Word has gone out to all the neighbouring towns and villages extolling this young rabbi who backs up his message with impressive miracles. Jesus was the biggest show in town! You would think that his home town would have rolled out the red carpet and welcomed him home as someone who has become famous and done the local town proud.

 

Instead, in today’s Gospel, we see his hometown do the exact opposite. He returns to his local synagogue and can do nothing. No walking on water, no feeding of the five thousand, no miracle that could razzle dazzle them. He comes to his home town and finds only scorn. “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? … Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary? … And they took offence at him.” The Gospel ends with those haunting words, that Jesus “was amazed at their lack of faith.”

 

I suppose, without faith, there is no room for God and no room for miracles. When we rely on ourselves, our own judgements, our own skills, our strengths and our ingenuity and cleverness we limit God’s presence in our lives. We can set limits on God, just as the people of Nazareth set limits on Jesus, “Jesus can’t be from God, we know he is Mary’s son”.

 

Don’t dismiss the reaction of the locals too quickly! It is understandable why they had such difficulty with him. After all, they had watched him grow up. They had watched him play with the other children of the village. They had watched him mature and learn a trade. He had led a normal life. He seemed like “one of them”. Who is he to suddenly write such big tickets about himself? Who was he to come back saying and doing all these things? We know him! It is this assumption that clearly lies at the heart of today’s Gospel.

 

The same thing can happen to us. The hardest thing about living out our faith isn’t necessarily the fear of being persecuted by some big evil force. Sometimes, the hardest thing about living out our faith is being misunderstood by those who are closest to us. Whether you are still at school, or university, at work or retired, to suddenly become more involved in the life of the Church and to actively make life choices because of your faith, can confuse and amuse and certainly cause comment! It is our friends, our relatives, our family who cast doubt. They know us. They know our story. They know our faults. Who are we to suddenly get involved in the life of the Parish? Who are we to become interested in some of the big issues of our community, to put our hand up and volunteer our time and energy in an activity or ministry?

It might not be immediately obvious, but in this life, faith is potentially the greatest adventure any of us will ever go on. To limit that adventure because of a fear of what others might think or say is to place ourselves alongside the small minded and narrow people of Jesus’ hometown. Instead, today Jesus calls us – dares us – to change our perspective and not to be afraid of where the great adventure of faith will take us!

Wishing you every blessing for the adventure ahead,

Fr Peter Brannelly 

 

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