February 4, 2015

The Gospel Today

Wednesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Mark 6:1-6

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, “Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Reflection (Sem. Danichi Hui):

“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” This is contrary to the saying: “love your own”. This refers no to one’s self but to what we are part of. However, this does not mean that this Gospel saying is not true to us for it happens even up to now. We learn this from what we call the “crab mentality”. This is a term that may describe an attitude of jealousy or envy, after the image of a crab’s characteristic of pulling one another down when placed in a basket or a container. We learn that through this characteristic the negative and bad will always be the focus and nothing good would come out from us, which is a dichotomy to what a Christian should be.

In the Gospel, the people who accused Jesus as a breaker of the law and a blasphemer are the ones whom I can say have the characteristic of a crab. For nothing good was seen in what Jesus did despite curing, blessing and teaching the people. He may have performed all these even on Sabbath, but that does not make Jesus less of a person or disobedient to the law. For the law that Jesus is obeying is the one that comes from the great ruler who is His Father, the God who created everything. But that was not what had happened. For the people in His native town were even the ones who accused Him, who should have been the first to be thankful and happy that apart from their town He does something good for them. Instead, they interpreted and saw the good deeds of Jesus as an offense. This is not far from what happens around us. We consider our country as a Catholic and the biggest Christian country in Asia but can we say that we really act as a Christian? We follow the civil law strictly but we neglect the law of God. I guess this is because we are afraid of punishment, we are afraid of being left out or abandoned. So we pull others down in order for us to be lifted and be saved from faults. One best example of such is when we cannot admit our own faults, instead we point others. In the sacrament of confession, it is tempting to talk about our struggles in reference to others and it is easy to relate our sins in relation to those of others. The other person becomes our way of defense. We would always secure ourselves in expense of the other person and then we would call ourselves Christians.

To be a Christian is to be like Christ and to be like Christ is to know how to love and the reference of love is not the other person but Christ. We should not focus ourselves with what others do, rather we focus on doing things for others. We see not the bad of the others but their good. We lift not ourselves but others. We affirm not ourselves but others. Because loving is not for one’s self but for others. We would only find the meaning of love in others. So the next time we call ourselves Christians, hopefully we could see the good and beauty of our brothers and sisters in faith whom we associate ourselves as Christians.

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