God’s wise ways
(4th Week in Ordinary Time)
Jesus returned to his own country, and his disciples followed him. When the Sabbath came, he began teaching in the synagogue, and most of those who heard him were astonished. They commented, “How did this come to him? What kind of wisdom has been given to him that he also performs such miracles? Who is he but the carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here among us?” So they took offense at him.
And Jesus said to them, “Prophets are despised only in their own country, among their relatives and in their own family.” And he could work no miracles there, but only healed a few sick people by laying his hands on them. Jesus himself was astounded at their unbelief. Jesus then went around the villages teaching.
DAILY GOSPEL IN THE LIFE EXPERIENCE
Subjecting God to human categories has led many to dangerous conclusions and regrettable decisions. Look at how the Jews ended up expelling a Messiah. That was because they were expecting one coming down from heaven escorted by angels with the swiftness of lighting and the grandeur of claps of thunder. They have set their minds on an extraordinary Messiah and Jesus did not fit this category. Thus they came to the dangerous conclusion that Jesus was an impostor. For this “they took offense at him” (Mk. 6:3). It was a conclusion that was both dangerous and regrettable because it tied God’s hands. “Jesus was not able to perform any miracle in their midst” (Mark 6:5).
Nothing has changed today about how we categorize God. As in Biblical times we categorize God as a power player – one whose presence is irreconcilable with weakness and sufferings.
From our experience of sufferings we always conclude that God is either absent or he simply doesn’t care.
But God’s ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8). Whether we like it or not his intervention will always include the possibility of chastisement because he is a father who also “punishes all those that he acknowledges as his sons” (Heb. 12:6ff). To those who wish to follow him, he requires no less than self – denial and the taking up of one’s cross (Luke 9:23). To those who want a fruitful life he requires death and burial like a grain of wheat falling to the ground (John 12:24). To those who want to be perfect, he demands no less than selling all possessions and giving the money to the poor (Matt. 19:21).
Many find these requirements repulsive, and so they take offense at God and expel him from their lives. We all know where the lives of godless people end up. If we too expel God from our lives because he does not fit our categories we end up in the arms of false gods who have no power to save! — Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles Jr., DM. E-mail: [email protected] Website: www.frdan.org.
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