In our Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus is met with misgivings and rejection by his own townsmen and relatives. This stands in stark contrast to the great faith shown by Jairus, as he fell before the Lord and begged him to heal his little girl, and the faith of the woman with the hemorrhage.
The people of Nazareth heard Jesus preaching in the Synagogue. They thought they knew who he was, and now that he was preaching, “they took offense at him” (Mark 6:3). There are two lines in this Gospel that should give a pause for reflection: “they took offense at him,” and “he was amazed at their lack of faith.”
“Effective prayer requires faith and trust in God.” (Didache Bible commentary). Because of their lack of faith Jesus was unable to perform miracles in Nazareth, his home town. But the problem wasn’t in Jesus but in the hearts of the people of Nazareth. They, and we sometimes, may have prayed for some great sign or miracle from God, but never with any real investment or conviction on our end. Others might even expect a miracle in answer to their prayers, yet think that God should work according to their will, their own plan, and their timetable instead of His.
Jesus must have known that this is the reception he would have in his own town. Why then did he go back there at all? Because no one is beyond the mercy of God, he would not give up on one single soul, even if it costs him. We see that invested interest and love in its fullest on Good Friday.
Even in the first reading, Ezekiel didn’t want to go to the “lost,” those stubborn people who were obstinate of heart. Yet God drafted him so that even if they reject Ezekiel, and really God himself, they would know that God tried. In the second reading Paul also would face hardship for the sake Christ, yet no soul was a lost cause to Paul.
St. Paul was truly a man with a heart after the heart of Jesus.
Like the people of Nazareth we too often resist the prophetic word because of pride, presuppositions, and an obstinacy of heart, rooted in self pride, as our Psalm describes. But as St Paul teaches us today, this must give way to weak- ness and powerlessness before God. “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10). In other words, let God be God in your life.
Do I take offense at Jesus?
Would he be amazed at my lack of faith?
Can I open my heart today to just a little more hope, a little more trust, and a little more faith in Jesus?
God bless you all, Father Robert Letona