14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B): Gospel – Mark 6:1-6
While last Sunday’s Gospel revealed the power of faith, today’s Gospel presents us with its empty opposite – hardness of heart resulting in a lack of faith.
Jesus is amazed at the lack of faith among the people of His own town of Nazareth, who take offense at Him. Having known Him and His family for years, they cannot reconcile the ordinariness of Jesus’ life with His profound teaching and His performing mighty deeds:
During the greater part of His life, Jesus shared the condition of the vast majority of human beings: a daily life spent without evident greatness, a life of manual labor…The obedience of Christ in the daily routine of His hidden life was already inaugurating His work of restoring what the disobedience of Adam had destroyed. The hidden life at Nazareth allows everyone to enter into fellowship with Jesus by the most ordinary events of daily life.
–Catechism paragraphs 531-533.
Like the people of Nazareth, we can find pretexts for ignoring, or even rejecting, the Lord’s message when it strikes us as difficult or inconvenient. But we would then be refusing God’s gift, denying the truth, and lying to ourselves:
God is the source of all truth. His Word is truth. His Law is truth…Since God is true, the members of His people are called to live in the truth. In Jesus Christ, the whole of God’s truth has been made manifest.
God offers us the gift of faith (153), but we must respond of our own free will to embrace it (154-55), and we must persevere lest we lose our faith (162).
“The first commandment requires us to nourish and protect our faith,” and also implies how we can sin against faith. One of these sins is willful doubt, which “disregards or refuses to hold as true what God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief…If deliberately cultivated, doubt can lead to spiritual blindness” (2088).
That kind of spiritual blindness was on display at Nazareth, preventing the people from receiving what the Lord wanted to give them.
Question for reflection: When have preconceptions hardened my heart?