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In The Commonplace

Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary?
Mark 6:1-6

Sermon Topic Happiness

Sermon Week Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 6:3


In one of the "Kudzu" comic strips, a preacher is greeting members of his congregation at the door of the Church after services. Kudzu (the young man for whom the comic strip is named) is finding it hard to suppress a yawn as he says, "See you next Sunday, preacher." Then a determined-looking woman steps up. Obviously displeased, she says, "Preacher, as a member of the Worship Committee, I must tell you I was hoping you could excite the congregation with your preaching." To which the preacher replies, "Yes, I said I could excite them--not raise them from the dead!"

A young playwright was extremely gratified when an important New York critic agreed to attend the opening of his "Off-Broadway" play. The critic came to the opening as promised, but quickly fell asleep and remained in that condition throughout the play. The playwright was heartsick. As soon as the play ended, he dashed down the aisle and said to the critic, "I'm sorry you couldn't stay awake longer. You know how much I wanted your opinion!" The veteran play-goer rubbed his eyes and said, "Young man, sleep is an opinion."

In today's Gospel episode, Jesus is preaching in the synagogue. He soon discovers that there is no need to resurrect this congregation. Sleep is not their opinion. They're excited! So excited, in fact, that they're expressing their opinions out loud. At first they are "amazed" by His words, Mark tells us. But as they murmur back and forth, their amazement turns into skepticism.

Who is this Jesus who preaches and works miracles in the Name of God? How is it that this ordinary carpenter dares to speak with such power and authority? What kind of wisdom is He endowed with? And what's the real story on those miracles He's been performing. "Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary?" (Mk. 6:2,3).

All this was "too much for them" is the way Mark expresses it (too "far out," we might say today). These people of Nazareth could not accept the fact that Jesus was giving them signs of God's Kingdom [...]

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