In this Sunday’s gospel (Mark 6:1-13), Jesus returned to his hometown. As Jesus taught in the synagogue on the Sabbath, there were many voices in the congregation; voices of family members, childhood friends, old neighbors and all others who knew Jesus as the ordinary hometown boy. The people’s challenge was to open their hearts to consider and give voice to the truth of who Jesus really was; to transcend familiar details such as Jesus’ earlier occupation and his family connections. They heard Him preach and teach with wisdom and were amazed by the “deeds of power” done through his hands, and yet they “took offense at him.”
But Jesus did not rely on the voices of his hometown folk for his self-identity, or to give purpose or meaning to his being. Jesus knew He was the Holy One of God. He was the One on whom the Spirit descended and the voice from heaven declared “You are my Son, the Beloved…” Jesus, the incarnate Son of God knew His purpose was to bring God’s kingdom reign of love and mercy to earth by his ministry of teaching, healing and restoration to new life.
Jesus “could do no deed of power” in His hometown. This was not because the voices disabled his spirit, but because the people did not believe in the movement of God’s Spirit in Jesus. Receiving the gifts of God in Christ depends on heart-felt faith. Undeterred by unbelieving voices, Jesus remained faithful to his mission and continued teaching in the villages. He then sent his disciples out in the power of His Spirit, to join him in giving voice to God’s goodness by ministering to the sick and the needy.
We are reminded that the only voice that truly defines who we and our neighbors are, how much we matter, and our purpose and meaning in life, is the voice of God who “fearfully and wonderfully made” us. The One who loves us with an everlasting love invites us into His one Holy Family. He calls us to release our presumptions about others and share the glorious news of our common identity in Christ to all who are bound by the voices of the world.