Ezechiel 2: 2-52nd Corinthians 12: 7-10Mark 6: 1-6
Last week I mentioned that as we hear brief passages from the Gospel of Saint Mark this year we ought to keep in mind that the approach he takes is to pose the question in the first part of his presentation: who is Jesus? Thus, in the account of various incidents and events, there are also some rather negative views that are expressed about Jesus,.
Some of the leaders of the people, especially the Pharisees, strict observers of the law and various regulations, tend to write Jesus off as rather slip-shod, because he does not insist that his close followers abide by strict rules about the Sabbath observance. Then there were the concern expressed by his own relatives about his mental health. Even some of his close followers, his disciples, were hesitant to place faith and trust in him. Today we hear from persons of his own home town. They certainly had questions. They were convinced that they knew all about him. He was a carpenter. They were acquainted with his close relatives. They expressed skepticism and doubt about him and about the legitimacy of what he was saying and doing.
In the early part of his presentation, Mark is laying out some of the questions or concerns about Jesus that his listeners might have – questions and concerns about who Jesus is. But what it comes down to, as far as the people in his home town and others are concerned, is that Jesus is not what some expect or want. Who he is does not fit their ideas or their purposes. It is easy to look at this in the context of the times back then. But it would serve us well to look at this in terms of our own times and place today.
As we hear it today, what is fundamental to the Gospel message is the revelation of God. God, who is goodness and love for all of us, all persons, all creation. Is this call to us to live up to the potential as reflections and revelations of God acceptable to us; are we comfortable with it? Or do we, rather, choose to reject it because of the demand it makes on us?
When the prophet, Ezekiel, was called to speak to the Chosen People of the Old Covenant, to speak truth to them about their failure to live up to that agreement with God, he was warned that they were a rebellious people, unwilling to listen. He was also reminded that he was not to back down, God was with him and would guide him. Do we understand this about ourselves?
Saint Paul also ran into opposition, but he also recognized his own weaknesses. There were others who may have been more polished, more acceptable in what they said, especially as it fit their own purposes or what their listeners wanted to hear. But Paul knew his role and what he was committed to do, whether or not others were willing to accept him or his work. Do we show that same tenacity about what we believe?
What Jesus Christ calls us to do is to recognize what we are, as creatures of God, as children of God, and how this is to effect and guide us. We are to give clear evidence of this in how we live day after day. How we are to reflect the goodness of God may not be and is not inline with so many of the values of the world in which we live, and even with the values of those who describe themselves as Christians.
Does what we say and what we do today and every day reveal the power of God’s mercy and love? We need to ask ourselves this question. Is what we say and what we do show honor and respect, hope and healing, to ourselves and to anyone and everyone who is a part of our everyday lives? We need to consider this carefully. Is what I say and what I do each and everyday reflect a genuine recognition before all else – even with weaknesses and failings – of what I am to be and what I am to do in making known a firm commitment, trust and confidence in a good and gracious God?