February 6, 2019
by Angela Maynard
Creighton University's Student Health Services
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs
Lectionary: 325

Hebrews 12:4-7, 11-15
Psalms 103:1-2, 13-14, 17-18a
Mark 6:1-6

Praying Ordinary Time

This is a reflection from Don Driscoll, S.J., for this day in 1999.

Today's Gospel scene evokes a feeling in me that perhaps we've all experienced.  Mark presents Jesus returning to his hometown, Nazareth.  Because the people have defined Jesus from some pre-conceived notion of Him, He is powerless to teach or to touch them for healing.  The people have closed their hearts and minds to Him.  Mark quotes some of their responses to him:  "How can He help us?"  "Isn't this the carpenter's kid?"  "Where did He get all this wisdom?"  Their arrogant, angry, jealous (?) outbursts have muted the messenger.  I'm sure that, being human, Jesus' feelings were hurt.  He probably also felt embarrassed for his mother and for his family... But what is His response?  He healed a few sick people and then continued with His mission, preaching in other villages.  He didn't give up.

I can recall an incident in my life where this Gospel scene helped me.  Years ago in Milwaukee, a brother Jesuit got sick and asked me to celebrate a week of Masses for a community of elderly people at a nearby retirement home.  My first morning there I set up the altar, (a card table) in a basement room, and then about 20 people gathered.  After the Gospel I began a brief homily.  I had just begun when one of the men yelled out:  "Louder, we can't hear you."  An elderly woman in the front row immediately responded: "He's not worth hearing."  This was the first of seven liturgies I was to have with this group.  Driving home I thought:  "I'll call in sick tomorrow saying that I have pneumonia."  Then a prayerful consideration floated through my mind and heart:  "What would Jesus do?"  This Gospel scene and similar ones enabled me to forget my feelings and to minister to the elderly for the rest of the week, hopefully as Jesus would have done.

Let us ask ourselves one question:  "Where is our Nazareth?"  Where or with whom is it most difficult to freely use our God-given gifts to bring hope and healing to others?  It's not always easy, but we have the example of Jesus in the Gospels.  And we have his promise of the Holy Spirit to make it all possible.  Let us rise with the Lord today in resurrecting His people to new life.  In so-doing we will create more peace and hope in our own hearts and also bring those same gifts with His healing touch to our homes and places of work, to our Nazareths.

Isn't that why we're here?

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