A Prophet’s Honor

Mark 6: 1-6
2 Sm 24:2,9-17 / Psa 32

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter?
(Mark 6:2-3)

Christ taught us in the life He led
Not to strive for fortune or fame,
But by His Word to work instead
In honor of His Father’s Name.

Jesus left there and went to His hometown, accompanied by His disciples. When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard Him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him. Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay His hands on a few sick people and heal them. And He was amazed at their lack of faith. (Mark 6: 1-6)

Reflection

A certain author once said, “Miracles do not evoke faith so much as faith evokes miracles.” The cold reception that our Lord received in His own hometown of Nazareth did not evoke wondrous miracles as in the place that He had just left where a hemorrhaging woman was healed of her disorder, and the dead daughter of a synagogue official was brought back to life, all because of their faith (Mk.5:21-43).

I do not subscribe to another adage that says, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” The folks in Nazareth thought that they were familiar with Jesus and His family just because they knew that His father, Joseph, was just a mere carpenter, and His mother a humble and quiet housewife. It was in fact because of the wonders that they heard Jesus was performing, which were unfamiliar to them that they felt cynical and envious of Jesus. “So where does this son of a carpenter get all His knowledge and healing powers?” They all wondered. “No, he’s just one of us. He can’t possibly be a prophet, much less the Messiah!” His kinsmens’ skepticism and prejudice made Jesus a stranger among them, so that He could not work much miracles there. It was as if His hands were bound by their bias and unbelief.

It is typical of the small town crab mentality that its residents tend to disparage the accomplishments of a local boy returning to his hometown. Only when one has achieved the status of a Manny Pacquiao or a Lea Salonga does one enjoy the honor and praise of childhood friends and relatives. But Jesus teaches us to be humble in the face of criticism or prejudice. Even when He was rejected by His own hometown, He did not use His powers to “show them” as some of us would have done to prove ourselves. Instead, He showed them and he shows us that He was indeed as human as any carpenter’s son, because He wanted to be accepted as one of us, as much as He fully identified with all our pains and difficulties. But more importantly Jesus teaches us not to seek honor for ourselves, because the only honor we should strive for is what we hope to receive from the Father when we have achieved true humility.

Lord, let me not seek the honor and praise of men; but just grant me the grace to act according to Your Will, and be pleasing to You in everything that I do. Amen.

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