Fifth Sunday of Ordinary time
First reading: Jb 7:1-4,6-7
Second reading: 1 Cor 9:16-19,22-23
Gospel: Mk 1:29- 39
Today’s Gospel shows the whole town of Capernaum gathering outside Peter’s house. These people truely believe that Jesus has the power to heal, to cast out demons and to save.
The Gospels tell us how Jesus works miracles every time He sees people’s faith: «Let it be done to you according to your faith» (Mt 9:29).
However, we somehow find it easier to believe in bad news rather than in good news.
If we compare today’s reading with Mk 6:1-6 (Jesus’ first teaching in the synagogue of Nazareth) we see that what happened in Capernaum did not happen in Nazareth, Jesus’ home town. This is because Jesus’ compatriots claimed to know who He was.
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. (Mk 6:2-3)
The people of Nazareth pretend to know who He is: the carpenter, the son of Mary. And they also know all his kinship.
Worthy of note: the term “brothers” does not necessarily mean “blood brothers” because this term, according to the Jewish tradition, refers to all close relatives (for example, cousins).
Even though his fellow citizens were aware of his wisdom and his power to perform miracles, they “would not accept him”. And, because of this lack of faith, Jesus “could work no miracle there, except that he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them” (v.5).
When we pretend to know who God is, we make no room for him within us, and it might happen that we end up opposing God’s work in us.
After many years spent following God within the Church, we might convince ourselves that we know Him well enough. But God is always beyond our own idea of himself. Human mind tends to put everything into mental categories, frameworks… but God cannot be contained and fully understood with our mind.
I admit that I still need to know Him more. Every day He gives me the chance to experience Him: through the Bible, the sacraments, prayer, everyday life. To my great amazement, I discover that He is always greater than what I expected Him to be.
We then need to have the heart of a child, who is willing to learn, to widen his knowledge, to go beyond his prior assumptions. And we need the trust of a son, to become fully what we are: children of God. And God will work many miracles in our lives!