THEIR EYES OF FAITH WERE CLOSED TO JESUS
(A biblical refection on THE 14th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – July 5, 2015)
Gospel Reading: Mark 6:1-6
First Reading: Ezekiel 2:2-5; Psalms: Psalm 123:1-4; Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
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 not mighty work there, except that He laid His hands upon a few sick people and healed them. And He marvelled because of their unbelief.
And He went about among the villages teaching. (Mark 6:1-6 RSV)
The people of Nazareth, though touched by the words of Jesus, questioned where He had acquired the wisdom evident in His words: “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to Him? …… Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary? (Mark 6:2,3). Their eyes of faith were closed to Jesus whose miracles and words reflected the work of the Messiah to come. His modest and compassionate manner did not fit their concept of and hopes for a Messiah who would free them from domination by foreign oppressors.
Jesus was rejected, as was Ezekiel, a prophet of God. Both were subjected to disbelief and persecution from an “impudent and stubborn” people (Ezekiel 2:4). They were all part of the people who had broken their covenant with God and, as a result, suffered the hardships of exile and captivity. Ezekiel’s message might fail to convince, but they would know that God had indeed spoken to them (Ezekiel 2:5).
In the coming of Jesus, God was revealing the depth of His love and compassion. Jesus, the Word of God, was calling humanity back to the love and tenderness of the Father. How sad that the people of Nazareth failed to recognize Jesus as the fulfilment of God’s words: “To you, O men, I call, and My cry is to the sons of men” (Proverbs 8:4).
Turning a deaf ear to God is as common today as it was during Jesus’ time on earth. Often our knowledge and understanding of Jesus’ mission as God’s incarnate Son among us is limited to what our minds can comprehend. We resist the challenge to go beyond the familiar and accept that God’s marvelous plan for our lives reaches far beyond our own meagre understanding. Perhaps because we are often content to know Jesus in a superficial manner we think we are dutiful enough. But this attitude keeps us from being open to the fullness of God’s divine life and love that He has planned from all eternity to share with us in Jesus (Ephesians 1:17-18).
God’s word to us in the liturgy and in our prayer and scripture reading is an invitation to surrender our lives more completely to His will. Let us set aside our preconceived ideas and the temporary concerns that lock us into a thinking centered on the here and now, and open our minds and hearts to the work God wants to do in us.
Short Prayer: Lord Jesus, come and be with me. Help me to listen to You more closely. Show me the ways I have boxed You in with My own ideas. Heal me with Your love so that I might serve You more fully. Amen.
Jakarta, 3 July 2015
A Christian Pilgrim