CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 20 April 2019

Print Version    Email to Friend
The risk of being homeless

Today’s gospel narrates the event of Jesus going to Nazareth, accompanied by a group of disciples. It’s not a courtesy visit. He returns to Nazareth to present to the ancient family, his new family, consisting of those who responded to his call. Some time back his relatives had tried to convince him to return to his family and to resume his decent work as a carpenter, but he did not accede to their proposal. Looking on those around him to listen to him, he exclaimed, “Whoever does the will of God is brother and sister and mother to me.”

The family knows that, in Capernaum, he expressed his admiration for the gesture of four men who brought down the roof of a house to introduce a paralytic (Mark 2:4). He approved their action because it was a sign that the House of Israel was to be accessible to those excluded. He called sinners into his house and wanted them to join in the banquet, a symbol of the kingdom of God (Mark 2:15-17). The call to abandon the safety offered by the religion of their fathers, to embrace the risks of the kingdom and enter his house, in his new family, made up of disciples who believed in him is rejected by his villagers.

The problem that intrigues them most is not concerning the content of his teaching, but the origin of this new doctrine. They wonder: are they done in the name of God, or, as the scribes that came from Jerusalem insinuated (Mark 3:22), they come from the evil one? They conclude: it is better not to trust this man who proposes dangerous novelty. They do not want to give up the old house and the securities offered by it.

The attitude taken by the people of Nazareth is repeated even today. Jesus requires that they distance themselves from the principles of the current morals, ideals and values proposed by the society in which they live. The answer he receives is, in most cases, the same: first misunderstanding, then rejection. Because of this incredulity, however, Jesus becomes unable to make those miracles that his word and contact with his person produced everywhere. He offers his salvation, but he cannot impose it, because he loves, and love respects our freedom.

 

In today’s world, if miraculous events do not happen, if the conditions of life are not undergoing radical transformations, if they do not establish peace, justice and reconciliation between peoples, the reason is always the same: men do not have the courage to grant full trust in Christ and his word. The amazing signs of the presence of the kingdom of God in the world cannot occur where faith is lacking or missing altogether.