Ez. 2:2-5; 2Cor 12:7-10; Mark 6:1-6
I think you are so familiar with this saying, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” What does this mean? Like for example, what is the reaction of many people of a balikbayan ( a returning OFW) who is home from abroad or even a city dweller returning to the province or a promdi (or from the province) going to the city? They observe the newcomers: their clothes, their usage of dialect, their attitudes towards other people or kababayans (townmates) and their general attitudes. And if the returnees or the new comers show the least mark of superiority, they will be judged as ‘suplado’ or ‘iba na siya ngayon’ or ‘nagbago na siya.’
I would rather say that over-familiarity is very dangerous and an obstacle. People around you will no longer believe and respect you especially if they knew your family background, educational background, the job and business that you are engaged. They don’t see anything new that is happening in you. This over-familiarity becomes also a stumbling block to mission. People will no longer grow in their faith and spiritual journey. They become fixated and their Christian life is just like a routine and boring.
Today’s gospel, Jesus has a similar experience with His kababayans when He returned home to His native place. One day He taught in their synagogue but he met with suspicious, hostile looks and cynicism. Their opposition was based on the fact that He was too transparent to them. They knew Him very much. They knew Him as the son of a carpenter. They could not accept this. The even knew His cousins, mother and father. His family is just an ordinary people in their place. And now he is telling and posing Himself as a prophet and a teacher? They could not accept this. They could not accept the Messiah that they are waiting for is just a son of a very simple and ordinary carpenter. They believe that a Messiah is coming from an unknown source. That is why they said: “Where did this man get all these,” (v. 2). Sensing their negative attitude, Jesus said, “No prophet is accepted in his own country,” (v. 4).
According to the First Book of Samuel that: “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart,” (16:7). If we accept this or not, today we are contaminated by a sickness which is more dangerous than AIDS or cancer or A (H1N1) influenza virus. This sickness is called He-man (Himantayon in Visayan dialect, or observing and assessing people by their looks or appearances).
Maybe this is also the reason why we buy perfumes, skin care products, Eskinol, lipstick, baby powder and undertake diet in order that we would appear good appear good to others they would appreciate and praise us.
But what Christ is asking from us today is that we should not set aside these Christian values of simplicity, authenticity and sincerity. Do not make your pride reign in your hearts. Greg O’Hern said: “Be cheerful and understanding, ever ready to give a helping hand and a comforting word. When you hear an unkind remark, when you have been the object of an abuse, when you feel your grievance must be revenged, control your temper and stay calm. Forget the urging temptation to fight back, for a wrong thing done cannot be righted with another. If possible, avoid explaining your side while your neighbor is still in an irritated mood. Why try to build a castle while the storm is raging. Nice things do not happen always. Like the day which shines or rains at times, there are unwholesome matters that come unpredictably in our way. We must face the situation with a big heart and a broad mind.”
Let us see what is inside in our hearts. Why God based us on what our hearts are. If you are going to take out letter H and T from the word HEART, what remains is the word EAR. But the ear cannot hear unless we get near to Jesus. Jesus humbles Himself and born like us in all things but sin. He set aside of His being God in order to be closed to us and hear what is lacking in us. So we must abandon our selfish biases and intellectual cynicism in order to possess a discerning heart.
Somebody also said, “Love without faith is impossible and faith without love is unacceptable.” It is because the love of God is at the heart of the Christian religion like ours. It is only when we love Christ that we can submit our will to His designs. It is possible to reach God only with our love in our hearts.
So let us look not with the appearance because that is deceiving but with the heart, it is surely a win.
See Today’s Readings: Cycle B