Homily February 1st, 2023

Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time – Even years – Mk 6:1-6

Today’s readings give us a great deal to meditate on, especially regarding faith when things are difficult to understand. In the first reading from the letter to the Hebrews, Paul reminds us that when God allows suffering or bad things to happen, it’s out of love. “God treats you as his sons,” he writes. “For what ‘son’ is there whom his father does not discipline? At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.” Things that appear bad or difficult on the surface are always intended for our good, to help us become the saints that God wants us to be.

Today’s Gospel echoes this theme: when Jesus returns to his native place, Mark tells us that “many who heard him were astonished.” Even more, they knew of His miracles and the great deeds He had done: “What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!” they say. However, that astonishment soon wears off, and, strangely, turns into malice. “They took offense at him,” Mark 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: His profession, His Mother, and His relatives. These people can’t see beyond the merely external, what appears to our eyes. Rather than look with the eyes of faith, they only see appearances.

Mark ends by telling us that Jesus “was unable to perform any mighty deeds there,” other than curing 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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