Fourteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time – Year B
Baptism of Ancel Pavel Romero
July 4, 2021 – 10:30 AM
Saint Cecilia Catholic Community
Deacon Sharon Kay Talley
Ezekiel 2:2-5 | Psalm 123:1-4
II Corinthians 12:7-10 | Mark 6:1-6

+In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, AMEN.

 Today’s Gospel from Mark is quite a contrast from last week’s Gospel which told of Jesus healing the little girl and the woman.

Last week, everyone was astounded by the wonders and wisdom of Jesus when He healed the woman who had hemorrhaged for years and when He brought the little girl back to life and requested that she be given some food since she had not eaten for many days while she was so sick.

But today, Jesus is back in Nazareth, the town where He grew up, and since it is a fairly small town, everyone knows Him as Joseph the carpenter’s son.

When Jesus begins preaching at the synagogue, the people are in awe at His knowledge and wisdom, but then they soon develop an attitude of hostility towards Jesus which is very puzzling.

It seems that this is Jesus’ second visit to his hometown of Nazareth, which is about twenty miles southwest of Capernaum and the Sea of Galilee.

On Jesus’ first visit recorded in Luke, He proclaimed that He was the Promised One to bring good news to the poor and the captive ones.  But the townspeople tried to throw Him off the cliff!

It’s quite amazing when you think about it that Jesus would have ever thought to return to Nazareth after the attempt to throw Him off the cliff on His last visit.

But today, Jesus is back and wants to make another effort to share the good news with the people of His hometown.  This time, Jesus takes His disciples with Him.

Now, the Gospel doesn’t tell what exactly Jesus taught in the synagogue, but whatever it was, the people were astonished at first, but then became hostile towards Him since they didn’t understand how He was able to perform miracles and teach like this.

Jesus offended them.  Why?

The people didn’t ask Jesus questions, they asked each other what their opinions were rather than ask for the truth from the Lord.  They ignored Jesus to gather their own opinions over the truth.  They questioned Jesus’ source of wisdom and power.

It should be noted that one of the questions discussed by the people of Nazareth among themselves was, “Is not this the carpenter?”  This is remarkable since it shows us clearly that for the first thirty years or so of His life, Jesus was not ashamed to work with His own hands! Think about it!  He who made heaven and earth and all that is therein took on the form of a servant as a working man.

In today’s first reading from Ezekiel, God gives him and all Christians, the mission of restoring our rebellious brothers and sisters in the world and bringing them back to God.

In our second reading from Second Corinthians, Paul describes the burden of overcoming Satan as a thorn in his flesh.  He names the burdens of insult, persecutions, hardships, and agonies as part of what we must bear as Christians, but we must not be afraid because the grace of God will see us through our travails.

Getting back to today’s Gospel, there is an underlying feeling or sense that maybe the people of Nazareth are envious or resent Jesus since He has been given such extraordinary wisdom and power.  They refer to Him as “the carpenter,” as a way of dismissing Him or belittling Him and say, “He’s the son of Mary” which implies His illegitimacy instead of accepting who His real father is.

These people don’t respect and honor Jesus, the prophet, the Messiah in their midst.  It is their unbelief which limited what Jesus could do there on His visit.

Clearly, the instructions God gave to Moses to be delivered to the Hebrews, “You must follow the Lord, your God and revere only Him, obey Him, serve Him, and remain loyal to Him.” were not adhered to in Nazareth.  God even sent Ezekiel to enlighten the Israelites as we learned in our first reading, and Paul encouraged us to be faithful servants in our second reading.

Today, we all celebrate as we witness the baptism of Ancel, who will be joined to Christ and share in His threefold mission as prophet, priest, and King.

A prophet is a messenger sent by God who evangelizes others.  A prophet speaks truth to power.   Sometimes prophets are even killed while delivering their message.  When Jesus states, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house from the Gospel of Luke, and “No prophet is accepted in his own native place,” from today’s Gospel of Mark, Jesus is speaking about Himself.

Baptism and Communion are symbolic acts that change our lives because they are covenantal.  A covenant is like a contract with God.  By baptism, all sins are forgiven and there is nothing preventing one’s entry into God’s Kingdom.  Baptism makes us adopted children of God, and we share in the mission of Christ”:  to reconcile a broken world and bring it to a Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and justice.

It is through baptism that believers surrender their lives in faith and obedience to God and it changes one from being an alien to becoming a citizen of God’s Kingdom.

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father,

We thank you for your love, that we have become adopted sons and daughters of You.  We pray for Ancel in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  May Ancel be loved by God, the Father, follow Jesus, and be guided by the Holy Spirit to bring hope and redemption into a broken world.