A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Hometown Boy Seldom Makes Good: A Lectionary Reflection on Mark 6:1-13

Mark 6:1-13

It may be true that knowledge brings respect, but it is also true that familiarity brings contempt. Jesus returns home. He is known by all; they have watched him grow into an adult, work at his father's trade, and then go off to wander around Israel as an itinerant prophet. Now he has returned home; and they, who know him so well, or so it seems, cannot believe their ears as they listen to him teach.

They ask, "Isn't this Mary's son?" which is nothing more than a back-handed slap at his "illegitimate" origins, or so they think. How can this hometown boy that they know so well, or so they believe, teach so profoundly, touch the human heart so deeply, and speak words of hope to those in such desprate need? They can't believe their ears, so they refuse to believe in him at all.

It is because of their lack of faith that Jesus chooses to do no mighty miracles in their midst. Why should he throw his pearls before swine? He heals a few who believe in him, despite the general consensus. Jesus is amazed at their lack of faith. Those who know him best should know who he is.

Jesus' hometown may not want to hear the Good News, but there are towns that do. Jesus now sends out the Twelve on their first evangelistic mission. They are to take nothing; they must rely completely on the hospitality of others-- in short, they must rely completely on God. The bag they are not to take is a beggar's bag. They must rely on others for their essentials, but they are to work for their staples. Their mission is their work, and the hospitality they receive is a gracious and thankful response to God for the gift of the Good News proclaimed.

They do mighty works in the name of their Lord. Clearly, they do not visit Nazareth.

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