14th Sunday Ordinary Time B
Ezekiel 2: 2-5; Psalm 123: 1-2, 2, 3-4
2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Mark 6:1-6
Throughout his Gospel, Mark depicts the many challenges of discipleship. He is not shy about communicating that “signing on” requires us to rise to a new level of faith and trust in Jesus who is our guide for participating in and bringing forth God’s justice.
In today’s account, Mark exposes the danger of our human weakness to hold fast to certainties that keep us comfortable with the status quo. Those in Jesus’ audience appear to be stuck in their sense of him as “the carpenter’s son”, rendering them, at the time, to be incapable of expanding their vision to include the possibilities that the Messiah is among them and that freedom is at their doorstep.
While perhaps this lack of faith may have been a little embarrassing for Jesus who has his followers in tow, Jesus chooses to boldly “move on.” He wants his followers to understand that hard of face and obstinate of heart are obstacles that are part of, but do not define, the mission. As St. Paul tells us, in weakness we are made strong. We do not know if the seeding of change in some hearts began that day.
If we continue to read forward in the gospel, Jesus encourages his disciples to support one another in mission. He does not tell them to avoid the resistance of narrow status quo vision, but if encountered, to accept the possibility that seeds were planted and to move on. Jesus does not want obstacles to deter the mission. He is clear his followers are to be about encouraging others to expand their vision of the truth of the Good News so that God’s freedom and justice can be available to all.
As we celebrate our nation’s independence, we must remind ourselves to not be stuck in a narrow status quo vision that believes freedom and justice are successes of the past, but to acknowledge that these are a continuing quest for many people who reside within our nation’s shores. As disciples who have faith and trust in Jesus, we must accept the responsibility of boldly proclaiming and working toward helping ourselves and others to develop an all-encompassing vision of the deeper meaning of God’s truth and justice. We pray this day that we do not let obstacles deter us, but that as trusting followers we become more courageous in actively seeding and participating in bringing forth God’s justice in meaningful ways.
Sr. BarbaraAnn Sgro, OP