Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Tomorrow’s Gospel speaks about Jesus coming to the synagogue and beginning to teach. Those who were there begin to question his liberty in doing so. Whenever Jesus cured someone he would ask if they believed that he could cure them. What is my faith like in the various circumstances of my life?

This is a meditation on this Gospel from one of my sisters:

“He was amazed at their lack of faith.”

The synagogue is abuzz—both the men’s and women’s sections. As the murmuring grows louder, the man who is commenting on the Scriptures pauses. Hardly anyone notices—so absorbed are they in their own conversations:

“Why is he trying to teach us?”

“He’s just the carpenter—Mary’s son.”

“James and Joses are his brothers.”

“So are Judas and Simon.”

Gesturing toward the women’s section, one of the men adds, “And aren’t his sisters here with us?”

Gradually the townsfolk begin to realize that Jesus has stopped speaking and is staring at them. They quiet down.

“The only place a prophet isn’t given recognition,” Jesus observes, “is in his own hometown and among his own relatives.”

Mark doesn’t relate what happened next—only that a few sick people presented themselves to Jesus and he healed them. He also states that Jesus was amazed at the lack of faith he found in his native Nazareth. It seems that few people believed in Jesus beyond his mother and perhaps his aunt, mother of James and Joses, who would one day witness his crucifixion from afar.

Jesus may have wondered: Why are their minds closed? Are prophets expected to emerge from nowhere with no human origins? In any case, his hands were tied by the townspeople’s lack of faith.

God created us as free beings and doesn’t force us to believe. But, as Saint Augustine would observe, he who created us without our consent won’t save us without our consent. We have to do our part.

If you have enjoyed this meditation, you’ll find meditations on all the Gospels of  Ordinary Time in: Ordinary Grace Weeks 1-17.

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