We have all heard that a prophet is despised in his own country. Jesus himself encountered this, as we see in today’s Gospel.
People knew him and his parents when he was a boy. Nothing could have prepared these local folk for the quality and beauty of teaching that Jesus gave when he returned.
This has parallels for us in 2021. Many of us are frightened of fully grasping the tenets of the faith. To experience conversion, and all that goes with it, entails going into situations we already know but as different people, with new and occasionally seemingly radical ideals.
We worry, sometimes, in these situations, about how we shall be seen, how we shall be judged, by those whom we already know.
The answer to all of this is the gift of the Spirit. We look to the abundance of confidence given to the disciples at that outpouring, and we can ask for this grace to be given us. In the First reading at Mass today, we hear: ‘The spirit came into me and made me stand up, and I heard the Lord speaking to me.’
And, as St Paul writes: ‘We are prepared for fame or disgrace.’ Nothing, once we have Christ, should phase us.
That is us, anyway. And as for those around us: some will accept our new ways. Others will not. Some will call us hypocrites for changing our ways, or for stumbling when we are trying. Others will praise and be inspired by our efforts. It is good for us to remember that the disciples have been there. St Paul has been there. And, as we read today, so has Christ.
So, let us go forward, safe in the knowledge that Christ is with us on our journey, and that our faith is not a tactical game of popularity.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark 6:1-6
Glory to you, O Lord.
Jesus went to his home town and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, ‘Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?’ And they would not accept him.
And Jesus said to them,
‘A prophet is only despised- in his own country among his own relations and in his own house‘; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.