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Homilies by Father Jaimon Dominic » Notes » Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2018

  • Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2018

    Posted by Mary Wilson July 8, 2018 - Category: Spirituality - 484 views - 0 comments - 0 likes -   #faith  #miracles 

    An old man is wondering if his wife has a hearing problem. So one night, while his wife is sitting in her lounge chair, he goes behind her and says softly to her, “Honey, can you hear me?” He gets no response. He moves a little closer and says again, “Honey, can you hear me?” Still, he gets no response. Finally he moves right next her and says, “Honey, can you hear me?” This time she looks up with surprise in her eyes and replies, “For the third time, Henry, Yes, I can hear you!” Who has the hearing problem now, the man or his wife? We are all too ready to blame the other person for a breakdown in communication when all the time we ourselves might be principally responsible for the situation. In today’s gospel we read of a serious breakdown in communication between Jesus and his townspeople. It was so serious that Jesus was literally unable to perform any miracles there. “And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them.” (Mark 6:5).

    This is one of the most shocking statements in all the Gospels – that Jesus could not perform miracles. Not that he would not but that he simply could not. Is anything impossible with Jesus? Today’s gospel says yes. It is impossible for Jesus to perform miracles in a situation where there is no faith. Jesus could do all things and wanted to do all things for his people. But he needs our faith to release his power. Remember, last week’s gospel of the woman with the flow of blood. Many people were touching and pushing against Jesus. Nothing happened because they did not touch with faith. But as soon as the woman of faith touched him, healing power came out of Jesus. As all-powerful as Jesus is, we have the capacity to disable him by our lack of faith. Faith is like a switch that turns God on, lack of faith turns God off.

    The people of Nazareth took offence at Jesus for his inability to perform miracles among them. Do you sometimes wonder at God’s silence and apparent inactivity in a world of corruption and injustice? But the really amazing thing, as far as Jesus is concerned, is the lack of faith among his people. “And he was amazed at their unbelief” (Mark 6:6). When we blame God for doing nothing while we suffer all things here below, does God perhaps blame us for our unbelief that has made it impossible for Him to act?

    Why did his people not believe in him? Jesus says it is because “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house” (Mark 6:4). There is a funny story about a bishop who was interviewing a senior seminarian before his ordination as deacon. The bishop asked him where he would like to be assigned as a deacon for pastoral training. The seminarian said, somewhat boldly, "Oh, my bishop, anywhere but New Canaan!" "Why not there," the bishop asked? "You know," the seminarian answered, "That’s my hometown -- and we all know that ‘a prophet is not without honor except in his native place.’” The bishop replied, "Don't worry my friend! Nobody in your hometown is going to confuse you with a prophet." we have a modern saying, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” The people of Nazareth thought they knew everything there was to know about Jesus. They knew his family and educational background, and they were not impressed. People who are late converts often do better than old timers in the faith because there is a tendency among old timers to think that they know everything there is to know about the faith. This becomes an obstacle, hindering us from experiencing the mercy and power of God, which is offered anew each day through the same old pastor, the same old preaching, and the same old sacraments. Familiarity does indeed breed contempt. But today’s gospel challenges us to strive every day to discover the new something that God is offering us through the same old and familiar channels.

    Jesus does continue his ministry among us today, does walk among us today to heal and teach but yet there are many who are lacking faith in Jesus to allow him continue to perform miracles through his Church and teach us through his Church. Yes, today’s gospel is a sad story of people who met Jesus and left without a blessing. As we meet Jesus today in his word and in the sacraments let us resolve not to leave without a blessing. Let us renew our faith in him.

    image via ccSearch: William Hole [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons