Daily Gospel Reflection

July 7, 2024

July 7, 2024


Don’t Miss Your Mission

6 min


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Gospel

Mk 6:1-6


He went away from there and came to his own country; and his disciples followed him. And on the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue; and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him? What mighty works are wrought by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them.

And he marveled because of their unbelief.

And he went about among the villages teaching.

Readings are from Dynamic Catholic’s New Testament Bible: RSV Catholic Edition

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Transcript


Don’t Miss Your Mission

It says it right there in the Gospel, "The people were astonished at His teaching." It happens all the time in the Gospel of Mark. It's the same Greek word. And sometimes we translate it in English differently: astonished, amazed, surprised, but it's the same thing. Jesus casts out an unclean spirit and the people are astonished. When he restores Jairus' daughter to life, the people are astonished. When he cleanses the temple, the people are spellbound. And when he answers the question about paying taxes to Caesar, again, they're astonished. And they say, "Where did this man get all this?" The scribes and the religious leaders, the experts, thought they knew.

They said he gets this by Beelzebub, the ruler of demons. And here in the gospel, in his own hometown, the people reject Jesus. Think about it. The religious leaders, the spiritual experts, and his own hometown reject him. One message is clear: if you are going to take a stand for something, expect opposition. If you're going to be bold, there are going to be people who will oppose you, attack you, seek to discredit you, and even reject you. And sometimes, those people will come from the places you least expect it. The religious experts and his own hometown reject Jesus. But what's more important is notice how Jesus responds to the rejection.

First, he marvels at their unbelief, and then he carries on. He keeps doing what he's doing. In fact, he finds ways to do even more of it. What's the very next thing that happens after this in the Gospel of Mark? He expands the mission. It gets bigger. He sends the 12 out two by two. Jesus doesn't shrink back. He pushes onward and upward. He multiplies. Instead of just Him, now there's Him plus 12 more going out. He gives them authority over unclean spirits. He gives them the power to anoint, to heal the sick. And He says, "Go preach the good news, and if people don't welcome you or refuse you, shake the dust off your feet." In other words, opposition and rejection, they're going to come. Shake the dust off your feet. Don't let it get to you. In fact, as long as you're doing the will of God, stay the course.

Think about that. Jesus wasn't waiting on a vote or an endorsement or compliments. The mission must go on. He sends out the twelfth, he expands, and then he carries on himself. He goes and feeds 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish. Jesus perseveres. The gospel is a lesson in persistence, perseverance, fortitude, stick-to-itness, and courage. We are a people of faith and trust, not fear and doubt. This message of courage, perseverance, and boldness applies in all kinds of ways. You think about America, you think about the great Patriots at the start of this country, people like George Washington, perseverance and courage.

But when I think about courage, perseverance, and boldness, I think about Harriet. She was a small, small lady. Full grown, she was only five feet tall. She ran away from slavery in Maryland in 1849. The other slaves told her not to go. Her husband said, "Don't go." But she realized that God had a plan for her life, and that plan required her to do something, not merely sit and wait. So she put her faith into action. She ran away into the night. Two years into her freedom, Harriet heard the voice again, the voice of God. And she said, "Oh, Lord, I can't. Don't ask me. Take somebody else." Again, God spoke. "It's you I want, Harriet." God took little Harriet and He made her part of the Underground Railroad, that system of houses and people that moved runaway slaves out of slavery into freedom. Harriet Tubman became a fugitive slave, willing to go back behind enemy lines to lead other slaves to freedom and she was cheered by former slaves, but she was never joined by any. They all knew the reasons it was too risky. But Harriet's results were staggering. Harriet Tubman single-handedly led hundreds of slaves, hundreds of slaves to freedom. And she ventured time and time again back into Virginia and to Maryland to lead the slaves out of bondage. When asked how she succeeded in liberating slaves behind enemy lines year after year, Harriet Tubman always responded that her faith was her armor protection. She knew God guided her steps. Thomas Garrett was a station master on that underground railroad. He was in Delaware, and he had a little store. And one day, Harriet Tubman appeared to him and said, "God told me that you have some money for me." Thomas Garrett was shocked. He said, "Well, how much do you need?" She said, "I need $23." Right before that, Thomas Garrett had received a letter from a Scottish gentleman who had heard about Harriet and wanted to support her, and he had sent Thomas Garrett just under $24. A little five-foot woman named Harriet became known as Moses, a woman who understood the power of faith. She knew what God could do. She knew that faith and trust overcome fear and doubt. Where does that come from? It comes from a deep, deep sense within you, a deep sense of who you are, and of whose you are. You are a baptized child of God. You belong to Him and to Him alone. Be not deterred by haters, detractors, and critics. Your life is too valuable, your calling too high, your mission too important, courage, perseverance, and boldness. Be bold. Be Catholic.

July 7, 2024

July 7, 2024