Mission Society of the Philippines

Homilies

14th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME: THE FAMILIARITY AND ORDINARINESS OF JESUS

Mk 6: 1-6

 

 

 



USUALLY WE ARE proud of other person’s achievements, especially when this person is our compatriot, schoolmate, or classmate. We share in the pride and honor that this person brings.

However, in our gospel today, we have heard of a different thing. What happened to Jesus at Nazareth is something disturbing. Jesus became popular because of the preaching and miracles He had done outside Nazareth. His fellow Nazoreans have heard about His marvelous deeds and thus, we expect them to be proud of Jesus’ achievements. But, unfortunately, these people had a different feeling toward Jesus. Instead of being happy and proud of Jesus, they looked down on Him because He was such a simple son of a carpenter. In a way, they have rejected Jesus.

What are the things we can learn from this attitude of the people of Nazareth toward Jesus?

Firstly, they rejected Jesus because He was too familiar and simple for them. His townspeople commented: “Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” They have seen Jesus, and they have watched Jesus grow in their midst. He was just simple; the same as them. But why He did not remain simple? A son of a carpenter has become a Teacher and Miracle Worker. That they cannot reconcile or understand.

Secondly, they rejected Jesus because they are too ordinary for them. His townspeople have these questions: “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!” For them, an ordinary person produces only ordinary things. But because Jesus has done ‘extraordinary” marvelous deeds, so, they began to question Him. In a way, his townspeople have put Jesus in a box. Being ordinary, Jesus should not get out from that border, but, remain inside that box.

Thirdly, the rejection of Jesus by the people of Nazareth is a sad story which continues to this day. There are revisionists in our time who try to discredit Jesus as God. These are attempts in our time to eventually reject Jesus.

But, speaking of rejection, this is also a struggle of the Church nowadays. The last three Popes (JP II, Benedict XVI, Pope Francis) recognize the emergence of the so-called ‘cafeteria Catholics’. These are Catholics who do not accept completely the Catholic teachings. They only choose which teachings they want to follow. In that sense, they have rejected ‘partially’ Jesus and His teachings. But Christians are expected to accept Jesus’ demands, to cling steadfastly to his laws and the laws of the Church. Our acceptance of Jesus should be complete and total. There are no compromises. This is the vision of Jesus toward his followers: that we remain faithful or full of faith in Him.

Let us go back to the attitudes of the townspeople of Jesus towards Him. Again, they rejected Jesus because He was too simple, familiar and ordinary. Let us connect these attitudes in our search for God. We, Christians, are on the process of searching for a deeper and fuller experience of God. But often we want to experience God in ‘extraordinary’ events and places. Like for instance, we have this tendency to look for God only in the most holy places. Thus, we always treasure ‘pilgrimages’ because these places offer extraordinary experiences of God. This is true!  

However, let us not forget that we can also find God in the most ‘ordinary’ experiences and events in life. Ordinary moments are also venues where God can be at work. I remember a story of a beggar who was given food by an unknown person, and his remark was, “Are you Jesus Christ?” Thus, the compassion or mercy of God can be experienced too through ordinary acts, places, and persons.

It is true that “God is there,” but we need to realize that “God is also here.” God is here in our midst. God is with us. God works and is present in our family and community. God is close to us; He is not distant. In our search for Him, we make Him familiar and close to us. AMEN.


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