Ez 2:2-5; 2 Cor 12:7-10; Mk 6:1-6

– Fr Fernando Armellini SCJ
Claretian Publications, Macau

In Capernaum, Jesus expressed his admiration for the gesture of four men who brought down the roof of a house to introduce a paralytic (Mk 2: 4). Symbolically, it said that the door of the House of Israel was thus open to all. This is the scandal of the villagers. With his message and actions, Jesus broke the balance,  and is demolishing the house in which they have placed all their hopes. The series of questions they put are justified (vv. 2-3). What guarantees can   “the carpenter, the son of Mary” offer? For more than thirty years, he has done nothing but fix doors and windows, make hoes and plows, and they know his brothers and sisters. Where does the message that he expounds come from?  Who gives him the power to work wonders?

The problem that most intrigues them is not concerning the content of his teaching, but the origin of this new doctrine. They do not question the goodness of his works, but their origin. They wonder: are they done in the name of God, or, as the scribes that came from Jerusalem insinuated (Mk 3:22), they come from the evil one?

They conclude: it is better not to trust this man who proposes dangerous novelty. They do not want to give up the old house and the securities offered by the ancient family. The very painful but inevitable separation of Jesus from his family, neighbors, and friends happens. It is the destiny of all the prophets, who are despised only in their own country, among their relatives and in their own family (v. 4).

The attitude taken by the people of Nazareth is repeated even today. Jesus comes again to those who believe they know him and of belonging to his family and advances his proposal. He requires that they distance themselves from the principles of the current morals, ideals, and values proposed by the society in which they live. The answer he receives is, in most cases, the same: first misunderstanding, then rejection.

If in today’s world miraculous events do not happen, the reason is the same: people do not have the courage to grant full trust in Christ and his Word. The great wonders, the amazing signs of the presence of the Kingdom of God in the world cannot occur where faith is lacking or missing altogether.

Translated by Fr John Ladesma SCJ
Abridged by Fr Jijo Kandamkulathy CMF