Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 5, 2015 Cycle B
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.E.

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In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

In today’s Gospel, we heard that Jesus was rejected by his countrymen. His relatives, neighbors and friends rejected him. People with whom he lived, people who grew up with him and went to school with him did not accept his new authority.

To be rejected is always bad. It is even worse to be rejected by people we know. We can easily imagine what Jesus felt in the synagogue of Nazareth. Jesus was sad at being rejected but, most of all, he was amazed at the lack of faith of the people from his hometown.

The ideas that they had in their minds were more important to them than what was happening before their eyes. What they had in their minds was more important than reality. They did not accept the newness that Jesus was bringing to them.

Their astonishment at Jesus (“Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands?” [Mk 6:2]) was suffocated by their prejudice (“Is he not  the carpenter, the son of Mary … ? [Mk 6:3]).” The Gospel says that they took offense at him.

They had a certain idea about Jesus but they rejected the real Jesus who was in front of them.

Our faith is not based on ideas. It is based on a person.

Jesus’ rejection is not only something that happened 2,000 years ago in Nazareth. It is also a possibility for people like us, people accustomed to religious things. Jesus can easily become an idea in our minds and not what is happening now. Jesus can become what we imagine to us and not who he really is.

Is my faith a routine of rites and prayers or a real relationship with Christ? The way that Christ comes now is through the Church. The Church is the extension of his person in history. Today, Jesus’ authority manifests itself in two different ways: the authority of those who have the responsibility of guiding the Church (the Pope and bishops) and in the authority of the saints. The second is the more important because sanctity is the end and leadership is the means. A leader in the Church is someone who is serving to increase the holiness of the people of God. That is why the Church canonizes those who live their faith in an exemplary way and not those who have the most responsibility.

The prejudice that prevented the people of Nazareth from recognizing Jesus as a prophet of God was due to their lack humility. In the second reading, Saint Paul reminds us about the importance of humility. He says that he had a “thorn in the flesh” that did not allow him to boast of himself. Without humility, it is impossible to accept Jesus’ authority in our lives.

Let us pray for the grace of Christ to conquer all our prejudices that prevent us from recognizing Jesus’ timeliness, for Our Lord to give us a humble heart able to accept him in the way that he wants to come to us.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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