This fourteenth Sunday of ordinary time, we follow Jesus and his disciples to Nazareth, his home town. Looking back in Mark’s Gospel we see that Jesus had just miraculously raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead. He then went about with business as usual and taught at the synagogue on the Sabbath day. When the people around him heard his teachings, they were astonished. Mark 6:2b, they said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!”
Before coming to Nazareth, Jesus had raised Jairus’ daughter back to life after her heart had stopped beating, her breath had ceased, and her skin was pale and cold. Jesus took the dead girl by the hand and said to her to get up. She did as Jesus commanded, and came back to life. Her color returned when her heart started beating and her breaths began to provide life again. Her loved ones rejoiced as they have her back alive. The people around Jesus were in awe with what he can do. He not only teaches wisdom, but he can also do mighty works.
Who is this Jesus? We can hear the crowd murmuring in Mark 6:3 “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?” The crowd is offended; how can one so ordinary like one of them perform great works and be full of wisdom. He is only a carpenter; a commoner. His mother is Mary and she is also just another ordinary person. Where did Jesus get his wisdom and power? Is he really who he is? There must be those in the crowd who think they are better than Jesus. People who have higher social status; possessing wealth, power, and education. Those who are in power and can bid others to do what they want. People who frowned on Jesus’ ordinariness and doubted his power and think they can do more than Jesus can.
Mark 6:4, Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” Jesus knows who he is and what he can do. However, those who doubt his abilities because they categorize him with common, ordinary people prevent him from doing greater things for them. In Mark 6:5-6a, we see that he was not able to perform any mighty deed in his home town, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
When we doubt Jesus, we limit him in what he can do for us. Remember that he is the Son of God, consubstantial with the Father in Heaven, and all things are possible through him. Work with him in living to your full potential. Do not be satisfied with being in a position or situation where you are unhappy. Work on increasing your faith. Practice in believing, and ask the Lord to take away any unbelief. Believe and trust in the Lord, and put in the works to receive what is in the Lord’s will for you. Lose the doubt. Faith, as Jesus says, can move mountains, even if it is as small as a mustard seed.
As an aside and tribute to Mary, in Mark 6:3, the questions; “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?” Remember that Mary is pure and holy, a virgin specially chosen by an omnipotent God. She is the new Eve from whom comes Jesus, the only child she bore and conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit, Luke 1: 26-38. With reference to the brothers and sisters of Jesus, it is semantics. Brothers and sisters do not refer to Mary’s children. James and Joses were the sons of Mary of Clophas (Mk 15: 40). Judas was the son of James (Luke 6:16). James the Lesser was the son of Alphaeus (Luke 6:15). James the Greater and John were the sons of Zebedee (Matthew 20:20).
God bless, and may His Holy Spirit be with each of you,
Diaconate Candidate 2024