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Jul 9 at 7:44 AM
"I thought I knew you."

"Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?..."​

~ Mark 6:3
Dear Deacon Nguyen,

Can we be open to seeing God's presence in those nearest to us?
In my pastoral care role, I often counseled people who were disappointed in loved ones.

Disappointed in their life choices or in a behavior they found offensive.

It's funny, this phenomenon called "expectation". We all struggle with it. We don't expect—and oftentimes don't accept—growth or change in the people we know.

I can just see Jesus wowing the crowds in the Nazareth synagogue with His knowledge of Scripture, and the congregants and teachers being so astonished by His wisdom. But instead of marveling in the apparent change in the carpenter they had known, they were offended by His teaching. He was a prophet without honor.

Did you catch that they called him the "son of Mary"? That was telling. You see, in Jesus' day it was very unusual to refer to anyone as the son of his mother. And they also mentioned His brothers...but they never mentioned Joseph. His fellow Nazarenes were judging Jesus.

Wasn't he one of them? They thought they knew Him. After all, He probably played with their sons. He probably made a piece of furniture that was in their homes. He was the carpenter. He was the son of Mary. He couldn't possibly change into this wise-beyond-comprehension human being that they couldn't recognize!

Prayer for 14th Sunday in Ordinary time​

O God You who left us so many challenges to our comfortable ways of thinking and behaving in the preaching and healing ministry of Jesus. He amazed so many because they had narrow eyesight and taut heart strings, with no way to take in the wonders of this neighborhood boy and young man, now gone to preaching strange things. May this week's message shudder us a bit so as to see ourselves also in the very constricted image that we often presume in Jesus' recalcitrant hearers. May His Spirit help us to be free from our petty ways of looking at others around us.

Amen.

~ Father John P. Martin, M.M.
Dinh, I want to challenge us both today. Can we let those we know be more than we thought them to be? Can we allow them to change? And perhaps most importantly, can we take the time to see the gift of God in them?

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

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