The Gospel According to Mark – 2018.07.08
Faith and Power
The gospel reading for today suggests that there are limits to Jesus’ power.
“He could work no miracles there,” the people in his home town would not accept him.
He left feeing despised, by most if not all.
Of course we know that his mother, Mary, followed him, She was with him when he was crucified. And we know that James, his brother was one of the twelve, as well as being the first bishop of Jerusalem.
Whatever resistance he met and the beginning of his ministry, at least in relation to his family, it was overcome.
Ultimately, that is less interesting than the revelation that the healing and miracle work Jesus was noted for, could not take place in the absence of faith.
Which corresponds to other passages we have read, where the faith of the individual is instrumental in the healing of their loved ones, drawing on Jesus’ power without his knowledge of it.
This is instructive, for us, because Mark’s gospel is the earliest of them, and it represents a less nuanced apology for the “miracle-making” Jesus was engaged in.
‘A Prophet is Only Despised in His Own Country’
Jesus went to his home town and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, ‘Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?’ And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time