MARK 6:1-6, 14TH SUNDAY IN OT
The people of Jesus’ hometown didn’t believe that Jesus was anyone special. After all they had held him as a baby. They watched him grow up. They had seen him skin his knees and cry when he was hurt. They observed his clumsy attempts to imitate Joseph in his carpenter shop. He was one of them. They were all from the same village – what others called the hick town of Nazareth. They didn’t think of themselves as special. How could Jesus be special?
So they took offense at him. As a result he wasn’t able to perform miracles. The mighty deeds he did in other places did not happen in his hometown. Jesus, himself, was amazed that they didn’t believe in him.
There’s an ancient story about a group of monks. The monastery was not doing well. The buildings were in disrepair. There were few monks left. Each monk worried about what would happen to him. They were so concerned about their own future that there was a lot of friction in the group.
One monk concerned about what was going on in the monastery went to see the spiritual master. The monk told the spiritual master, we are in serious trouble. Our buildings are in disrepair. We are growing old. We are disgruntled. Few monks are joining us. What are we to do? The master told the monk, “One among you is God’s special messenger”, and sent him home.
The monk went back to the monastery and looked around. “One among us is God’s special messenger.” Who? Which one of us is God’s special messenger? He wondered. Is the abbot God’s special messenger? Is it the cook? What about the gardener? No one looked any different. But one of them was God’s special messenger. The spiritual master always told the truth.
The monk began thinking about this wonderful news and he told the others what the spiritual master said. “One among you is God’s special messenger.”
Each monk thought to himself, I need to be careful not to offend God’s special messenger. Now I don’t always want to do what the Abbot says. But what if the Abbot is God’s special messenger. So he tried to be more willing to obey the abbot – just in case that the Abbot was God’s special messenger. Then he looked around and saw the cook. He didn’t always like how the cook prepared the meals and would complain. But what if the cook is God’s special messenger? He started to find ways to compliment the cook.
The monks began to look at each other expectantly. Maybe this one is God’s special messenger. I need to treat that one well – just in case he is God’s special messenger. A reverence grew among them. They began to treat each monk well – just in case that monk was God’s special messenger. People began to come to the monastery because of the spirit they saw among the monks. They helped repair the monastery buildings. Others saw what was happening and wanted to be a part of the group. The monastery grew and flourished. Each day each monk would begin the day by remembering the words of the Master. One among you is God’s special messenger.
Jesus was the one among the people of Nazareth who was God’s special messenger. At the same time each person is God’s special messenger. What about us? Do you, do I, treat each person I meet at God’s special messenger? What would the world be like if we did?