Persecuted Heroes (Fourteenth Ordinary)

Jesus left there and returned to his hometown. His disciples came along. On the Sabbath, he gave a lecture in the meeting place. He made a real hit, impressing everyone. “We had no idea he was this good!” they said. “How did he get so wise all of a sudden, get such ability?” But in the next breath they were cutting him down: “He’s just a carpenter – Mary’s boy. We’ve known him since he was a kid”. (Mark 6: 1 – 3)

Watching television back in the 1950’s was a whole lot easier than it is now. Sure, there was no cable or satellite dishes. There weren’t any remote controls to change channels and only a handful of channels to choose from.

But the heroes were clearly identifiable. Roy Rodgers had his white hat. Superman had heroic background music. Villains came with shifty eyes and narrow moustaches. Inevitably, evil was defeated in a half hour.

Today we are confused by so-called “anti-heroes” who must fight their own personal demons as well as other enemies. They are far from perfect. Often the show ends with evil getting the upper hand. This approach is supposed to appeal to a more sophisticated audience.

God’s chosen people always had difficulty accepting their as heroes. Too often the prophets were persecuted because of their message.

So it is no wonder that when Jesus comes home and begins to teach like a prophet of old he is rejected by all his neighbours. And that limits him. Unable to perform the very acts that would persuade others that he is a prophet, much less a Messiah, he will take his message to a more receptive audience who will hear him and become his followers.

What keeps us from seeing who Jesus is and should be in our lives? How can we better respond to what he is saying to us and asking of us?

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