No Prophet is Welcome in his Hometown, and so what?
When we hear about Jesus today, we wonder why it was hard for those around him to understand him. How was it possible that they doubted despite all we know about him? Do we wonder why after listening to his teaching, instead of giving glory to God, they opted for belittling him? "Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the...?", they asked. "Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? "For those listening to him, we might wish to ask, are you blind? Can't you see that he is the Son of God?
However, there was no way they would have known. Today, we have both Mark and Matthews, Luke and John telling us, each in his own words and style, how he healed the sick after performing series of other miracles. In addition, we have access to files that were "classified" at their time.
Today, we hear Jesus reminding us of a fact we have almost all experienced in one moment or the other:
"A prophet is not without honour except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house."
Nevertheless, why was it necessary for the Gospel authors to tell us about the welcome reserved to Jesus? Was it the reply of Jesus that was important or that he was an ordinary man like any other person for them? Was it the listeners of Jesus asking questions about Christ's identity, or was it a question of Mark's community that eventually became that of Luke and by allusion a motive of teaching for the fourth Gospel author? (John 4:44-45).
Despite their lack of faith, he could cure a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
Today's Gospel, far from telling us how Jesus was treated in his hometown, gives us a clue on how Mark's community grappled with Jesus' identity; how they made their journey of faith, little by little discovering Jesus. The latter, despite their doubt, went a step further to heal some sick.
The first reading challenges us all the more. Jeremiah is being sent on a mission with clear instructions that his interlocutors will never listen to him. (Ezekiel 2:2-5). And without doubt, he accepts the challenge to be the bearer of the Good News. Jeremiah is each of us sent out to be the Good News in a world of individualism. And that Good News is Christ himself who, despite the threat of death lingering over his life, went forward to be the model of self-abandonment.
Today, we heard the questions of Mark's community. What are the questions of your community? Who is Christ for those struggling with health issues? What about those rejected by the community? Does Jesus love some more than the others? Are there some prophets that are not welcome in your community? Or are you a prophet afraid of not being welcomed? No Prophet is Welcome in his Hometown, and so what?