Today’s Gospel is Mark 6:1-6
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.”
When I hear this, I hear Jesus once again–this comes up often–talking about the spiritual danger of complacency and comfort. There is a great need for us to break away from those things in our life that keep us comfortable, that maintain the status quo. That is part of the message of conversion, of repentance. Once we have been on the road of conversion for a while, we realize that it is not even necessarily just sin that we need to turn away from, but it is rather from the ways in which we go almost without thinking, those worn paths that do not lead us to God alone.
I think a good illustration of this is the rich young man, who asked Jesus what He needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus replied to follow all the commandments and to do what is right, to which the man said that he was already doing these things. But, listen what Jesus says next…He called him to a completely new life with Him. He said, “Go, sell all you have and give to the poor. Then come, follow me.” Jesus was calling this man in a radical way! We know that, sadly, this man did not (at least at this time) answer Christ’s call to leave behind all his riches for the sake of the kingdom. If he had, he would have traveled with and relied on Christ and His apostles, he would have experienced the astonishment and disbelief of his friends and family, he would have experienced doubt as to whether he had made the right choice, and eventually would have experienced the pain, anguish and disillusionment of the cross. This would have given way to the glory of the Resurrection and all that followed.
Jesus says in the Gospel passage that a prophet is not honored in his own house. What is our “house?”
It is the structure in which we dwell, where we have built walls that shelter us, that keep us comfortable and safe. It is good and necessary. If we think of our house figuratively as an interior structure, we realize it is also the harbor of unhealthy attitudes, habits and presumptions/judgments–of the false self. When we come to a certain point in our relationship with Christ, this is when we are then called to come forth from the safety of this house to be led to the House of the Lord. Think of Abraham who was called from his home to go to a strange land. And the Israelites who were led out of the slavery of Egypt to the promised land. It is, of course, never an easy journey. It is tiring and full of darkness, wandering, and fatigue. But the important thing is to answer the call, to set out, to keep Jesus in our sight, to follow the Light that is Him. If we do so, He will bring us safely to a new house, the house of the Father.
+++ “Arise, let us be on our Way.” +++