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FEB 3. ORDINARY TIME. (B) WK 4. WED. MK 6. 1-6

Jesus 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 only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.


The issue being highlighted here, and it is a problem for many practicing.Catholics, is that of familiarity with Jesus Christ and his Gospel teachings. In my own case I have been pondering and thinking about the Gospels and their teachings for more than sixty years.


In today’s reading the people had known Jesus intimately for many years, so when he started preaching about the Kingdom of Heaven they were “astonished”. “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 this can also be a genuine problem for us, in that we are so familiar with the teachings of Jesus Christ that we do not give them the importance, or the attention, we should? And there is one outstanding example of this in the Holy Eucharist, which we have “heard so much about” that we do not give this Sacrament the reverence, or the worship it deserves.


And there are no shortage of other examples including Mary, the Mother of God, and our Mother; - the Sacrament of Confession; - the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; - and even Prayer itself. These are each Divine Gifts, bestowed on us to assist with our Eternal Salvation; - as well as the attainment of a loving Union with God during our pilgrimage on earth!


But they are all at risk of losing their value; - and our appreciation; - because of over familiarity!


In contrast, think about the importance we give to worldly issues? Our wealth; - our appearance; - our Health; - the Cost of living; - our ‘quality of life” etc. These priorities never lose their importance because of over familiarity; - only the “things of God” and the teachings of Jesus Christ?


And Jesus highlights what the issue is in this reading: - He was amazed at their lack of faith!”


The effect of over familiarity, in one’s spiritual life, is a loss of Faith, and it is interesting to note how “the things of the world” never seem to lose their importance; - but only “the things of Heaven?”


We need to be alert to this danger because, as our Faith teaches, when the time comes for us to leave this world, and we know we only have hours, or less, to live; - “what is important in our own eyes” will suddenly change, and our interest in our wealth, our looks, and our “success” will suddenly be seen in their true light; - and we will develop a sudden concern for our soul?

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