A reflection on today’s daily office reading on the Gospel of Mark
The first half of the Gospel reading tells of the frustration that Jesus experienced when he went home to Nazareth. The people of Nazareth experienced Jesus, not as the son of God but as, “the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” This understanding of Jesus apparently stifled his ability to perform miracles, Mark observes, “And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them.”
Similarly, the second part of the Gospel highlights the essential nature of relationship. As Christ sends out the disciples he instructs them to take nothing and rely on the goodness of other people. This action catapults us into a level of relationship with people that requires intimacy, vulnerability and a level of dependence that we often find uncomfortable.
As I sat in bed this morning, curled up by a space heater in Cleveland, I heard Christ not simply recommending or suggesting that we engage in relationship but emphasizing it as a necessity if we are to experience the power of God or live the way of Christ. Which, if true, asks that I change the way I work to prioritize time building trust and the way I live so I would be more open to the support of others rather than seek to be self reliant. These are both challenging actions for some one who likes to be independent and efficient but according to today’s readings seem necessary if I am to experience the miracles of Christ.
What are your thoughts? Do you think that we must engage in relationship to know Christ? Do you think Christ was thwarted by the lack of belief in Nazareth? How would being in relationship change your life?