Homily August 4th, 2023 

Friday of the Seventeenth Week of Ordinary Time – Mt 13:54-58

Today’s Gospel presents us with questions about faith, and how we respond to what it is that God does in our lives. Matthew tells us that when Jesus returns to his native place, those who heard Him in the synagogue were astonished. Even more, they knew of His miracles and the great deeds He had done: “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?” they say. However, that astonishment soon wears off, and, strangely, turns into malice. “They took offense at him,” Matthew writes: “they took offense at him”; the Greek word literally means “to be scandalized at,” and this scandal comes from right after references to Jesus’ humanity: the names of His Mother, and His relatives. These people in Christ’s hometown can’t see beyond the merely external, what appears to our eyes. Rather than look with the eyes of faith, they only see appearances. Yet, as C. S. Lewis wrote so beautifully, “[God] is the great Iconoclast,” because He constantly destroys the images we make of Him, the ways we think He should work. 

Matthew ends by telling us that Jesus “did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith,” and to this Mark adds that the only things He did was cure a few sick people. Curing a sick person is pretty mighty, and it makes us wonder what awesome and incredible things Jesus would have done there if the people had had faith. After all, these were His people, His relatives and friends. He probably would’ve done great things, if only they had had faith. This brings us to our day and to our choice: what do we do? Do we really believe in Jesus Christ? Do we believe that in our weakness, our seeming powerlessness in the face of difficulties, God’s power is made perfect? Or do we, like the people in Jesus’ native place, get caught up on only what is visible? Do we refuse to join with Christ all the way, and hesitate at what He asks?

Today, let us ask for the grace, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Faith, to truly live our faith, to trust in God despite the difficulties we encounter.

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