Gospel Reflection July 6 – Fr. Morris

Sunday, July 8

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 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 Joses 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.

It is “amazed” in both the New American Bible translation used at Mass and the New International Version favored by American Evangelicals. It is “marveled” in the 20th century Revised Standard Version and the hoary 17th century King James Version.  The Douay-Rheims prefers “wondered,” while the highly-idiomatic American slang version The Message says Jesus “couldn’t get over it.” No matter how we translate the Greek, Jesus is shocked at his hometown’s lack of faith.

It is rather astonishing to us that Jesus could be so affected. Shouldn’t the Son of God be the very last person in the universe to be taken by surprise? But Jesus is surprised and amazed at his hometown’s lack of faith. Nothing he does can convince them to see beyond the most superficial aspects of his human nature.

Yes, the Nazarenes know his extended family tree; yes, they saw his father and mother at synagogue, and maybe they even own an item or two from the woodshop. But they cannot see beyond these superficial truths and realities to the deeper Truth and the hidden Divinity pointed to by Christ’s words and deeds. Amazingly, even in the face of Jesus’ innumerous miracles and works and mind-blowing teaching, the townspeople still see only what they want to see.

Father Matthew Morris