Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Then Jesus with His disciples came to His hometown of Nazareth. On the sabbath He began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard Him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” And Jesus could do no deed of power there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and cured them. And He was amazed at their unbelief. – Mark 6:1-6
Why has a prophet little honor in his or her hometown? Familiarity? Yes, maybe, the memories of childhood might confuse the image and stature of the prophet. Reluctance? Again, maybe, for why would this kid who played in the streets have more knowledge of the faith than we ourselves? I tend to think that it is because new ideas tend to be viewed as an act of betrayal of the ways we’ve always known. I can hear the elders whisper to each other, “The ways in which he was nurtured are now found lacking? Who does he think he is? How dare him!”
I suppose this frustration in Nazareth is an example the ages old tension between the conservative and the progressive. One side is reluctant to change, the other side is eager to change. One side values stability, the other side values possibility. As Christ reminded us … new wine and old wineskins put ever other in danger.
I think I know something of what Christ went through with the people of His hometown. When I take on the robes of the prophet, the elders quite often get upset. They cast stones with notes attached that say, “Heretic!”, “Leave us alone!”, “Why are you so eager to change the old ways?”, “You are not one of us!”, even, now and then, “You run the risk of hellfire!”. I am rather sure that the people of Nazareth thought they were being obedient and committed to the ways they had come to know … but Christ was amazed at their lack of faith.
An aspect of living faith is the going on to the More Perfect Love and the More Perfect Understanding. Yet, for so many, they are shackled to the former understandings that had not yet been perfected. Living faith involves listening to the God who still speaks, learning from the Truth that God continues to reveal.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz