Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Remembrance of Modesta, a homeless woman who was refused medical assistance because she was dirty and was left to die in the Termini train station in Rome in 1983. Along with her we remember all those who die in the streets without a home and succour.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark 6,1-6

Leaving that district, he went to his home town, and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, 'Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?' And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, 'A prophet is despised only in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house'; and he could work no miracle there, except that he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. He made a tour round the villages, teaching.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus returns to his "homeland" after being away a considerable amount of time. By now his fame has spread well beyond Galilee and has even reached Jerusalem. When he re-enters the synagogue where for years he had listened to the Scriptures and prayed to the Lord God, his fellow citizens turn out in mass to hear him. All are amazed by what their fellow citizen, whom they think they know so well, has to say. And as is appropriate for opening the path toward faith, they ask themselves: "Where did this man get all this?" Unfortunately, the inhabitants of Nazareth are stuck by the familiar and usual appearance of his presence. They think that a prophet ought to have extraordinary and prodigious traits. Instead, Jesus appears normal to them as an ordinary man. He is of modest means. "Is this not the carpenter?" they ask themselves. Carpentry was not a trade of particular repute. Jesus' family was truly normal, neither rich nor indigent. They seem not to enjoy any particular esteem from the citizens of Nazareth. The Nazarenes see absolutely nothing in Jesus that could make him better than them. They recognize his noted wisdom and ability to perform miracles, but they cannot accept that he could speak with authority about their lives and their behaviour. Their wonder quickly turns to scandal: that someone they thought they knew so well could ask them to change their live and their heart. That was something they could not accept. And yet this is exactly the logic of faith: to accept the authority of the Gospel over one's life. Those we assume the same attitude as the inhabitants of Nazareth obstruct the Lord's work. Mark writes that Jesus "could do no deed of power there." Not that he did not want to, but that he could not. A miracle is God's response to those who extend their hand and ask for help. Not one of them extended their hand; rather, they all made demands. The way to encounter the Lord is to let oneself be met by him.