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14th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle B

Mark 6:1-6

“He was amazed at their lack of faith.” (Mark 6:6)

In today’s Gospel passage, I’m drawn to the sequence of responses from the crowd in Jesus’ hometown after He taught in their synagogue. 

At first they declare: “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands?” 

To put this into greater context: Jesus has just returned to Nazareth after healing the hemorrhaging woman and raising Jarius’ daughter from the dead. Likely, news of this has preceded Him, and perhaps that is what is being referred to by the “mighty deeds.” 

The crowd’s initial questions convey awe and wonder. My translation says they were “astonished.” Something supernatural is going on: Surely, they think, this wisdom and these deeds cannot come from Him alone.

Yet, instead of letting their wonder and awe lead them to greater faith, with open hearts for all the more that God wants to show and give, they, instead, become offended. Their questions change in tone: “Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary…?”

They are trying to bring Jesus down into their reality. Even more, they seem to want to disparage him: By pointing out He is the son of Mary, not Joseph, they are seemingly perhaps pointing to the questionable nature of his birth. 

Although not as hard of heart, I relate to the choice that is presented in the presence of God doing new things that break our mold of comfort and familiarity. There are two ways to respond: Lean in or close off. 

I’m challenged to reflect: When the Spirit is doing more, do I, with docility, give my open-ended fiat? Or do I, perhaps out of fear of being more visible, or things changing, try to reground myself in what is familiar? 

Do I have the poverty of heart to say: I don’t fully understand, but I have seen a glimpse of your glory and love, Lord, and I want more – no matter what I need to leave behind? 

Lord, please give us the graces to behold your glory, love, and power, and to respond with open-hearted humility. May our wonder and awe lead us to greater faith; and may we surrender to you with love and trust, and see even more of your beauty. 



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