JESUS WAS REJECTED IN NAZARETH
(A biblical reflection on THE 14th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME [YEAR B] – 4 July 2021)
Gospel Reading: Mark 6:1-6
First Reading: Ezekiel 2:2-5; Psalms: Psalm 123:1-4; Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
The Scripture Text
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)
Many stories in Scripture illustrate how it is entirely possible for God’s people to miss recognizing Him or His servants at first glanced. The people of Nazareth were not particularly evil or dull of heart. They were everyday, ordinary people just like us. And, just like us, they were prone to the same tendency to rely too much on their own ability to figure out spiritual truths. Thus, without making a deliberate decision to reject the Lord, they had become blind to Jesus simply because they treasured their ideas about God and His Messiah.
On the other hand, let us be careful not to think that we are immune to this kind of thinking ourselves. No one is perfectly open to God. We may go to Mass, receive the sacraments, and pray dutifully every day. But the very people who rejected Jesus also knew Him well. They were, after all, His neighbors and loved ones.
It’s good to ask every now and then how we came to the ideas we have about God. Does our image of God come from our experience of our earthly fathers – both positive and negative? Is it rooted in fears about our lives or a desire for comfort? Do we allow disappointments of the past or difficult experiences not fully understood to condition our trust in God’s love and compassion? However we came to our conclusions, we must always keep our hearts open to the Holy Spirit so He can reveal to us more clearly who God is and how much He loves us.
Let us never stop asking Jesus to reveal Himself. What if He did appear, but not as you thought He would be? Would you reject Him? If we seek God with all our heart, we will find Him. Let us read His word and pray to Him with open hearts. If we do, He will surely speak to us. God loves us so much that all we have to do is keep ourselves open. His Spirit will take care of drawing us ever closer to the heart of our God.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, come and be with me. Help me to listen to You more closely. Show me the ways I have limited God by my own ideas. Come, Spirit, and let Your love flow! Amen.
Jakarta, 3 July 2021
A Christian Pilgrim