- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

February 5, 2020

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO

4th Wednesday in Ordinary Time
2 Samuel 24: 2, 9 – 17; Ps 32; Mark 6:1 – 6

There are many representations of the Lord Jesus in His passion, in the anguish of scourging, crucifixion. He is called “the Man of Sorrows” but the passion of the Lord, His sorrow is not confined to the events of Good Friday; it came about throughout His life.

Today’s Gospel is an example of this. Jesus came to His own and of course, His reputation preceded Him. Surely, the people of Nazareth were looking forward to seeing Him, hearing Him, experiencing His healing power. We can imagine that it was standing room only in that synagogue with quite a crowd assembled outside.

At first they were astonished, but that first reaction of amazement changed drastically soon becoming disdain – He was too much for them – they thought they knew everything about Him – “is He not the carpenter, the son of Mary?” Jesus’ desire to share the good news, the message from His Father, the message of Life was not accepted. Jesus, the Man of Sorrows, experienced rejection from His own. How wounding that must have been!

The last line of the Gospel is very telling: “So He was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.” It seems that Jesus was taken by surprise – in His sacred humanity He had not expected this, surely not from His own.

Here is Almighty God in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and His power is limited by His own creatures – not limited in itself – but limited by them and for them. The Lord does not invade, coerce, threaten – He invites, He even pleads and He waits. He sees clearly our need, our sinfulness and if, we like His people, choose not to receive, He will not force.

What about us? We approach the altar to receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist; is there a part of me/you that limits His grace? Is there a part of me/you that keeps Him at a distance? We can take time in thanksgiving yet, deep within us or not so deep, we, His own, might be saying “Come, no farther!”