Year B: 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Gospel: Mark 6: 1-6
There is a traditional wisdom that suggests that, once you have moved away from a place it would be next to impossible to return there to live. This is probably even more true if you have made a name for yourself!
And so, we can have sympathy with Jesus in the Gospel today. Having begun a ministry of preaching the Good News and healing, he could well have hoped that those among whom he had grown up would welcome him home with open arms.
Not so, of course... they saw the village carpenter who had taken himself off to goodness knows where - and got up to goodness knows what - and has now come back full of strange ideas best left to other people. They recognise that there is some wisdom in what he says - but cannot get beyond the fact that it is someone they have known all his life who is saying it. The messenger in this case gets in the way of the message.
For Jesus, this must have been frustrating - of all the people in the world, those closest to him would have been the first he would want to share good things with - but it was not to be. He tried - but their incredulous response stifled even his capacity to preach and to heal.
We can reflect on why Mark included this in his Gospel. The community for whom he was writing lived in Rome and one question likely to be posed would be - if this is really the Good News the Jews had waited so long to hear why had they not been more enthusiastic about accepting it? One answer offered here is that people did not expect someone like Jesus to be delivering it - a mighty king or warrior - but surely not a carpenter.
It also offered the community reassurance that, when they went to their homes and tried to explain why they had become Christians and to share the Good News with their families, it was quite likely that they would receive the same reception. People might identify something in what they were saying but might find it hard to accept from someone they have grown up with and hitherto believed to be fairly normal!
We too might need that reassurance - especially if we take the Gospel seriously. We might well find ourselves subject to harsh scrutiny and incredulity - but, as Mark implies today, it does not mean we are wrong!
What does it mean for me?
© 2006 Wellspring