Thursday, July 2, 2015

Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B    5 July 2015            Deacon John McMullen


Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith.

Don’t we know some people, who cannot see the obvious? How many of us know people who can only see the negative?

A few months ago areas of Indiana got several inches of rain, but with the gift of rain came strong winds and electrical power was cut off to many people for nearly twelve hours. A few people could only complain that it took the power company several hours to restore power, but they never rejoiced in the fact that it rained!

In Victor Hugo’s novel, Les Miserables, the main character Jean valJean, a paroled prisoner encounters a holy priest and has a life changing experience. However, because Jean violated his parole, the police chief, Inspector Javert, can never accept the fact that Jean valJean had become a new man.

In fact, Javert cannot imagine living in the same world with Jean valJean, so Javert kills himself. He could not accept the fact that God’s grace could work in a the criminal’s life, so he rejected the God of love and mercy and rejected his own gift of life because the god of law and order turned out to be a God of mercy and justice.


In today’s gospel, Jesus the prophet is too much for hometown to handle. The main role of a prophet was not to predict the future, but to interpret current events in light of God’s Word, and to help the people see things from God’s point of view. Many people refused the prophet’s vision.

But the prophet is not called to success, but to faithfulness to God. The prophet will often find himself in a face-off with hard-faced, stiff-necked people who reject the reality of the good news of God’s grace.

St. Paul encountered opposition in his ministry.  What exactly was the “thorn in Paul’s flesh”? No one is sure, but whatever it was, it kept him humble. And as a result Paul had great empathy for others because he knew what it was like to suffer. Three times – over and over and over again he begged the Lord to remove this suffering, but it remained.

Don’t we all have something like this? Some kind of an addiction or difficulty or illness in our lives that just won’t go away? So when we can name that thorn, offer it back to God, but entrust yourself to Christ and his cross. We might be reaching our perfection because OF the thorns.

God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. Oftentimes when we are humbled, we become open to God’s power and grace. This is the mystery of faith: “It is when we are weakest that we are strongest.”

Ezekiel was content to proclaim the Word of God whether people believed him or not; he was faithful to his mission because the Holy Spirit was within him.

St. Paul was content with all kinds of suffering because he knew that Christ was with him.

Jesus was content with rejection and even death because he knew that He was the beloved Son of the Father and filled with the Spirit.

Because of our suffering we can become great saints!

We are called to be content and finding God’s peace in the midst of our suffering. As the Psalmist prayed: We must keep our eyes fixed on the Lord, and pray for mercy.

Either we drop our egos and attitudes as did the prophets and the saints and see things as Christ sees things or else we will end up in a staring contest with Jesus, waiting to see who will blink first. [Good luck with that].

No one in Nazareth, or anywhere, ever denied any of Jesus’ miracles. What the people did deny was the power that his miracles had upon their lives. They denied the love and grace that Jesus offered to them. And this is likely the saddest rejection of all: apathy.

Jesus really didn’t mean anything to them. They knew his mother and cousins and, besides, he was a common man, a carpenter and stone cutter. He was no one special – even though they could see with their own eyes that he was much, much more.

And because the people of Nazareth could not place any faith in him, the people refused to allow Jesus to impact their lives, to affect their mindset, to influence their actions, or to change their minds.

And because of their lack of faith, he could work no mighty miracle there, apart from curing a few sick people.

Jesus was amazed at the lack of faith in Nazareth.

Yet Jesus takes us by surprise, ready or not, for the kingdom of God is at hand.

What is Jesus amazed with in your community?