2 Corinthians 12:7-10
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark.
Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, “Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.
Good News Reflection: Rejected, misunderstood, disbelieved
In this Sunday’s Gospel reading, we see the painful truth of what happens when we share our faith with those who knew us before we became alive in our faith.
Like Jesus, we are rejected, misunderstood, and disbelieved by people who don’t understand why we changed. They feel threatened by our example; they don’t want to consider their own need to change. We sound like fanatics to them, and they use this as an excuse to remain uninfluenced by our testimony.
Jesus changed after he quit living an ordinary life in an ordinary town with an ordinary job to begin a ministry that would instigate persecution, and he invited everyone to follow his example. How crazy does that sound?
Making matters worse, he was now spending all of his time trying to change the status quo of everyone’s normal life and their normal ways of relating to others and their normal attitudes about religion — even affecting the status quo of those who did not want to follow him and become like him.
People don’t like to be challenged, especially when it means giving up what’s familiar and comfortable. However, this is not a reason for us to keep silent. We have been called by Christ to share the good news about him. We must make it known that conversion is important, or else we are sinning against him and against those who need to learn more about him.
We fulfill this mission by sharing our personal conversion stories and our spiritual insights, and especially by making this an invitation rather than by demanding that others change.
If you’re being rejected because of this, remember that Jesus understands how you feel. Let the sting of their rejection be replaced by an awareness that God is very pleased with you.
Questions for Personal Reflection:
In what ways has Jesus changed your life? Who are the people that misunderstand these changes? Now list those who do understand you: What can you do to enjoy their company more often?
Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
When have you been rejected because of your spiritual growth? What have you learned about how to lovingly respond to their objections? What are your frustrations in doing this? Have you ever walked away like Jesus did when he left his hometown?
Help me, Lord, to discern the soil in which You want me to sow Your Word. Make me recognize You wherever You are, and in the humblest of my brothers and sisters. Help me to marvel whenever I watch Your works in miracles and in everyday deeds. Amen.
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica