The Gospel according to…Mark 6: 1-6. He departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. 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! 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?” And they took offense at him. 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.” So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.
Opening Prayer: Lord I come before you today to place my heart in your gentle and merciful hands. I know you need my faith in order to make this time with you fruitful for my spiritual life. I invite the Holy Spirit to increase my belief in all the good you can do in my life.
This section of Mark’s Gospel ends with the rejection of Jesus by his own people. It summarizes some of the themes we read in the beginning of this Gospel, discipleship and faith, Jesus as a teacher and a miracle worker, as well as the misunderstandings and his rejection. The Jews from Jesus’ neighborhood presumed they knew him and, as a result, they failed to perceive any of his divine reality. Preconception, conjecture, or familiarity can blind us too from seeing that Jesus is in everyone. How many times have we rejected someone based on here-say or with someone else’s dealings with an individual?
Some of my experience, in the secular world, proves that this happens all of the time. I have seen good people work hard at a particular job in order to be promoted, to earn enough to enable them to better provide for their family only to be criticized by the jealousy of others. And in most cases I end up being transferred to other facilities where people can judge them by the fairness in which they treat others and by their strong work ethics.
It is hard to imagine the Creator of the heavens and earth would be hindered by anything if he wanted to execute his might. We see here that Our Lord values us so completely that he gives us the freedom to believe (or not believe) in his love for us. We are so free that our lack of belief–therefore our lack of permission–in him hinders the completion of good deeds for us. Yet, freedom is love. Nothing forced or kept is truly loved. God knew that when he left the final decision to us. Will we allow Christ to exercise his might in our lives? He waits for us to open ourselves up to him just a little further today.
We know that Jesus raised the dead, walked on water, and made a tiny bit of food enough to feed the multitudes, so we could assume there is little that would amaze him. But here we read Jesus was amazed at the lack of faith of the people in his hometown. Amazed! God has so much to give to us, but when we remain stubborn and stuck in our disbelief he is saddened. We can pray, therefore, for God to move our heart by asking, “Lord, help my unbelief!”
Faith is a gift from God, and we must ask for it and protect it.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, how often I forget to intercept the thoughts that tell me you are not divine or that you cannot help me. I must reject those thoughts that are not from you and actively seek your protection and help throughout my day, so as never to “amaze” you with my lack of faith.
Closing Prayer: May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
Action for the Day: As Jesus renews his unconditional commitment to us today, let us ask him to give us the courage in living out our commitment to him, turning our example, words and deeds into clear messages of his truth and love to everyone we encounter.