Without my planning it, the first post in this new blog on Sunday readings turns out to be on a subject that is dear to my heart. “A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house” Jesus says in the key phrase of today’s gospel reading, Mark 6:1-6.
The Galilean woodworker has come to Nazareth is given to read from the scrolls and speak at the synagogue. Oddly enough, given Jesus’ conclusion, this is quite an honor; it’s not a role bestowed on just anyone who walks into a synagogue on the Sabbath.
So, yes, he was honored by his countrymen and kin. He just wasn’t paid heed. The hearers choose any old excuse (he is the young man we all saw grow up, seems to be the gist of it) to discount and disbelieve words of “wisdom” by their own admission.
There’s a game going on here. I have encountered it.
Kinfolk and their friends in a far away land disbelieved nearly everything I told them about the United States. Instead they told me: Americans eat everything in tins; they all drive Cadillacs. Conversely, in the United States, people heard a foreign accent I don’t have or guessed I was a seductive tango dancer merely because I have an unusual name and my parents came from the land of tango.
Like the people of Nazareth, kinfolk and fellow citizens choose absurd excuses to dismiss anything I say, even if I happen to have personal experience or book knowledge that might contain a useful insight here or there. Nothing like what came out of the mouth of Jesus, but something worth considering.
There’s an assumption that we can judge a book by its cover, even if our eyesight is a bit off. No one in a club we’re likely to be admitted would know anything worthwhile. So we miss countless chances for insight and discovery.