4th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Heb 12:4-7, 11-15
Brothers and sisters: In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood. You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children: My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges. Endure your trials as “discipline”; God treats you as his sons. For what Ason” 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. So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees. Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one be deprived of the grace of God, that no bitter root spring up and cause trouble, through which many may become defiled.
Gospel: Mk 6:1-6
Jesus 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 Joseph 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.
LISTENING TO JESUS AND HOW TO HANDLE REJECTION: Congregants listen to preachers diverse reasons: for knowledge, to be taught, to understand, to ask questions, or even because they have nothing else to do. In today’s congregants, at first, they accept the teaching but later they start questioning everything about the person of Jesus. Why this change of attitude? They stop listening with their spirits and start listening with pre-conceived ideas. They disconnect from the Divine and get their emotions stirred up. How do we listen? Despite all including rejection by his own, Jesus does not give up. How do we handle rejection? Do we walk away?, hate them? Fight them? Jesus walked away. He was however, not deterred from his mission. God had not “finished preparing” their hearts for the message. How do you listen to Jesus, in the Scriptures and even in your conscience? Let us not allow familiarity to breed contempt in our discipleship. Let us therefore ask the Lord to help us to follow and understand more Him more.
PRAYER: Lord, give me the grace never to give up while ministering to your people. Amen.
THAWED BY THE HEAT OF FAITH: Once, young parents left their three-year-old with the tenant. “While you read in the portico, just mind him, we will be back in an hour”. As the little fellow played around, he tripped on something and fell. He looked around, and waited for a moment wondering if it was worth crying! The tenant sat there uncaring. The boy woke up and went about playing. After half an hour mother returned, and seeing her he started crying. The tenant wondered, half an hour later, surely the situation has changed, why cry now! We too like the tenant, wonder as we see the change in Jesus. Is he not after all a carpenter’s son? With this old belief we fail to see that Jesus is from above. He is God. The danger is when we even try to advocate the opposite of this belief about our faith. In this way, we spread the poison of lies and disbelief among others. Let us desist from remaining in the old beliefs. Let us blow hard and fan up the flames of faith around us.