Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Memorial of Saint Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs

(Hebrews 12:4-7.11-15; Mark 6:1-6)

In a book of prayers Mother Teresa asks for what appears to be strange things.  “Jesus, deliver me from the desire to be approved,” she says.  Then she goes on, “Deliver me from the fear of being ridiculed.”  “Why would she not want to be approved?” we might ask.  And, “Who would ridicule Mother Teresa?”  But Mother Teresa was a prophet.  She frequently said things of God that people did not want to hear.  She was like Jesus in today’s gospel reading. 

At first, all the people praise Jesus.  They think of him as “’Joseph’s son,’” a local lad who has done well.  They turn on him when Jesus makes them realize that he is God’s prophet.  If he is to do in Nazareth what he has done in Capernaum, the people will have to repent and believe in God’s love.  They will have to recognize that God is not a local deity but the Lord of the universe.  Jesus cannot do marvelous works for them just because they think they know him.  With that the people become so furious that they are ready to stone Jesus to death.  Because his hour has not come, he is able to escape from their clutches.

We too must realize that Jesus has come not just to help us because we are familiar with him.  No, we have to believe in him as the God of salvation who comes to help us, sure, but also to call us to repentance and to love of God and neighbor.