Wednesday Gospel Reflection: The Prophet’s honour
‘And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honour, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household”.’
I think Jesus is being sarcastic here. The hometown of a prophet ought to be a place where he is honoured. We read that Jesus returned to his hometown and taught in the synagogue on the Sabbath. Jesus was in a sense with his family, that is, the People of Israel. The Jewish Messiah among his Jewish brethren. He was ‘home’. The people knew who he was: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?”
And yet, despite grasping some of these facts about him, they did not truly know who he was. They ‘took offence’ at his person. They could only see Jesus through an opaque lens. To see him clearly would be to risk upsetting the status quo. This is the reason why I think Jesus ‘could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them’; we might think that that was not a bad day’s work by our standards; but imagine what Christ could do with hearts open to him, which recognise his true being as God and Man. Jesus says earlier in the Gospel of Mark that his real family are those who ‘do the will of God’ (3:35). What is the will of God? In 1 Timothy 2:4-6 we read that God, ‘desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus’.
Those gathered in the synagogue listening to Our Lord in the Gospel account could not see this truth. They thought they knew who Jesus was. They underestimated the one whom they thought they knew. We may want to reflect in our own lives whether we truly believe in the person of Jesus, our mediator who has won our salvation, and who, by his grace, brings us to a greater knowledge of himself, thereby grafting us into his divine life. We would be daft to refuse this offer for our true hometown is not of or in this world, but with God in heaven. We can only get home by the help of one who has come from there. Fortunately for us, he has come in the person of Jesus. One day, when we reach our home, we will find the Prophet par excellence, Our Lord Jesus Christ, truly enjoying the honour befitting his person in the company of his righteous sons and daughters in the heavenly household.
Gospel passage: Mark 6: 1-6