A reading from the gospel of Mark 6:1-6
1 Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.
2 When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
3 Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honour except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.”
5 So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
6 He was amazed at their lack of faith.
Reflection: No matter how good you are, not all people are happy.
An old saying states that familiarity breeds contempt. Does this apply to Jesus in the gospel passage today? When He went back to his native town of Nazareth, His kinsmen were astonished at his works and preaching but they were not happy. Probably, because they knew Him as a carpenter like His father Joseph and they didn’t expect Him to become a prophet or teacher. As a result, Jesus did not make many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
Nowadays, some people show the same attitude. Once they knew you as so-and-so, they could hardly believe that you can become so much better than before. Try as you may to be better, they would even try to pull you down. Sometimes, even your own family and close friends are not agreeable to what you are doing.
Pity these kinds of people who lack faith in the human potential. Pity them even more because they “take offense” at you for doing what is right.
Yet, we don’t stop being good just because no one believes in us. We may not be honored for doing good but God knows our intentions. In other parts of the gospel, Jesus says that God who sees in secret will ultimately give us our reward. In the first place, we serve not to be applauded but to show our love for the Lord. We seek not to be appreciated by people but by God who is our only judge.
In the words of Mother Teresa:
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.