“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place.”

Mark 6 (vv. 1-6) begins with Jesus back in Nazareth.  He is preaching in the synagogue and those who know Him and His family personally marvel at His words and deeds and wonder from where He derived His wisdom and power.  Making explicit their familiarity with His mother and relatives, they take offense.  Jesus, reacting to this, says His piece (above) and is able to cure only a few there, all the while being amazed at their lack of faith.  How does this apply today?  Who are the prophets of our day?  The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this: “‘The holy People of God shares also in Christ’s prophetic office,’ above all in the supernatural sense of faith that belongs to the whole People, lay and clergy, when it ‘unfailingly adheres to this faith . . . once for all delivered to the saints,’ and when it deepens its understanding and becomes Christ’s witness in the midst of this world” (no. 785).  Through faith and Baptism we all are called to be prophets, i.e., witnesses to the Truth through a deep understanding of Jesus.  How much easier it is to witness to a thousand persons who one will never see us again versus one family member who needs to have the Gospel message presented to him and who knows us very well (our exuberance, our flaws, and our past).  Particularly, a radical conversion experience can be particularly off-putting to those who have known us for years.  It, too, can leave them saying, “Where did this man get all this?” (v. 2)  If this is anything lik e our experience, know that it was Jesus’ first.  Should the servant be any better than the Master? (cf. Mt 10:24, Jn 13:16)  If what happened to Jesus should befall us as well let this not dissuade us from an authentic witness — one, like Jesus’, that was lived out perfectly with no hint of pride, arrogance, anger, or dismissiveness.  Rather, let the manner of our lives be blameless, and our attitude be always one of charity, so that even the most hardened heart will desire to know the source of our joy.  If it’s a lack of faith that is the problem, we may be the conduits God wishes to use to increase that faith and open up the possibility of spiritual healing in those we love.

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