Our Faith in Jesus, the too-familiar Prophet
Today’s Gospel selection from St. Mark focuses on Jesus and the people of his hometown: folks who lacked faith in him because he was all-too-familiar to them: He’s the Carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon… And “…they took offense at him…”
Jesus came to his hometown with his disciples, and no doubt his preaching “message” was good — even astonishing! Yet He was too familiar, a hometown son-turned-prophet. Jesus’ response? He was amazed at their lack of faith and was not able to perform any mighty deed there.
Thus, our 21st Century question: what about our faith in Jesus? We’ve pondered the Scriptures, very likely studied our faith with the help of catechists and catechisms; we’ve gathered together with other believers over our lifetime, shared in the Sacraments given us by Jesus. We can so easily take all of this for granted, seeing our faith in a very routine manner. We recite the words and sing the songs – but we can easily miss the “feeling” and the true dynamic meaning of faith in Jesus Christ. For sure, we humans benefit by regular, ongoing reminders and encouragement.
Today’s Scriptures invite a renewed spirit, a deeper faith, a genuine 21st Century life of faith in Jesus. Our daily prayer, our at-least occasional study of the Scriptures (even the footnotes!), our preparation for the Eucharist and the other Sacraments including our heartfelt participation therein, our resolve to put our faith into practice in the nitty-gritty of daily life: Jesus wants to be near us, in us, and shared by us — “familiar” yes, but also “The Prophet of God’s Love for all of Creation”!
May today be a day of gratitude: gratitude for our ever-growing faith in the Person of Jesus, for our many blessings as women and men of the 21st Century; gratitude for our country this July 4th including freedom and our rights as citizens; for our God-given vocations as people of life and service… No doubt, Jesus challenges us as He has so many before us; may we continue to grow and witness our faith in Jesus and the transforming power of His Life, His Love!
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the Vocation Director for Holy Cross Province. He lives at St. Vincent Strambi Community in Chicago, Illinois.