FAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTEMPT AND STOPS MIRACLES
We are familiar with the first saying; “Familiarity breeds contempt” but it having the power to stop miracles takes us by surprise. Surely if God wants to perform a miracle how could human contempt foil it? Puzzling indeed this is but it is what St Mark says happened to Jesus in his home town of Nazareth. The lack of faith of the people who knew him so well, who had seen grow up with them, whose family were still in the district, prevented the miracles Jesus wanted to see happen.
It catches us a bit by surprise when Mark states Jesus could work no miracle but only cure a few people. If we could cure just a few people we would think that miracles were happening but clearly this is not what Jesus was looking for. The miracle he wanted was the transformation of the people. Jesus longed for them to lay aside their small town prejudice that said that someone they knew well could not be a outpouring of God’s wisdom and power.
Those transformed by the miracle of coming to new life in Christ can see the presence of God in the most ordinary of places, people and events. For them no part of the world is untouched by God’s goodness and grace. In the simplest response to a human need – a drink of water, a timely text or phone call, an unexpected and unannounced visit – in these simplest of actions God is active.
This transformation is the miracle that could not happen because of their closed hearts and minds. The power to perform the miracle was there. Away from Nazareth many people had changed. This is what the Nazarenes had heard about and what they wanted to see for themselves. But their refusal to change deprived them of what they wanted.
The role of the prophet who takes people on about the prejudices they have allowed to control them is not an easy one. Try it and see. Ever so gently try to tell someone they have racist attitudes, are selfish, manipulative, gossipy and you will experience the rejection that prophets have always been subjected to. Yet the challenges must be put. Parents do it regularly with their children. Teachers do it with students. Preachers do it with congregations. If the challenge is rejected that is the choice of the one challenged. If the prophet is rejected that is the fate of those who attempt to free someone from the prison of prejudice. If the challenge is received and change is embraced then salvation and freedom have come to that person. That is the miracle Jesus longed to see.
Father Adrian Farrelly
|Jul 30, 2015||14th Sunday in Ordinary Time 05.07.2015||Listen||Download|