FR MICHAEL BIBLICAL IMAGERY
(Fr Michael Boakye Yeboah: Vice Rector of St Gregory Seminary, Kumasi-Ghana)
AMAZED AT HIS TEACHINGS
Today’s Gospel account is taken from Mark 6:1- 6 and it forms part of the accounts we read on the 12th and 13th Sundays respectively. Two weeks ago, we heard of the miracle of the stilling of the storm and the sea while last week Jesus handled medical cases beyond the solutions of the best physicians and scientists of the day. These miraculous events made his name spread beyond the frontiers of Palestine to the extent that everywhere he went people were bringing the sick so that he could touch them. After these miraculous events Jesus decides to pay a visit to his native town accompanied by his disciples. It was a sizable entourage.
It could have been natural and human for his town folks to come to the entrance of their town with songs, dancing and jubilations to meet “the only “Good ‘thing’” from Nazareth. Nathaniel tells us in John 1:46 that Nazareth is not a place that a good thing can come from, so for them to have a renowned preacher and healer from that town should have been something that calls for “township celebration”. But unfortunately, that was not the case for the folks in Nazareth. Instead for them to praise their Son, they started to rein in some unpleasant words to Jesus, his parents and siblings. For them no matter what others in the world were saying about Jesus they saw him only as a carpenter, nothing more and nothing less. And the inspired writer says, because of the unbelief Jesus did not work miracles there except a few people that he laid his hands on and restored them to good health. Even with these works of kindness to those town folks the people decided to hold tightly to their own perception about Jesus.
This story about Jesus, can be your story, it can be my story. In life there are some people who are comfortable profiling a friend, a relative, or a neighbour only with his/her past. To these people no matter the transformation in your life they will stick to their old perception of you. Please don’t waste your lifetime trying to change their mind for they will not change. Pay attention to what Jesus thinks of you and the good things he is doing in your life.
One thing I find strange with the people in Jesus’ native town is that in the first place, they cannot help but be amazed at his teaching. They cannot figure out “where he got all of this”. They readily admit that his wisdom, effectiveness, and miracles are far beyond them. Yet they cannot admit that this is all true, and they justify their refusal by their knowledge of his family and his earlier life among them. After all he was an ordinary carpenter. Where did he suddenly get all of this? Jesus generalizes from this contradiction, extending it to the fate of every prophet in his hometown, among his relatives and family. As long as man maintains this contradiction within himself, he can have no part in healing (which presupposes submissive faith). However, the One sent from God must pass the test of this situation. The first reading indicates this incontrovertibly.
It is precisely to “deserters”, “apostates”, the “obstinate”, “rebel”, and the “hand of heart” that God sends the prophet Ezekiel (like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others before him): “It is to them that I am sending you.” Ezekiel dare not enter into any compromises with them. He can only speak the word of the Lord. The success or failure of his message cannot be a concern to the prophet – it has no effect on his mission. Many prophets preceding Jesus had to experience the rejection he encountered in his hometown.
The rejection of people does not mean anything to me; if people reject you and God approves of you, then you are good to go. Keep your faith in Jesus.