Week 4 of Ordinary Time, Wednesday – 5th February — Gospel: Mark 6,1-6
Prejudice prevents acceptance
The synagogue setting for teaching and their rejection of Jesus, along with Jesus’ teaching and his nature of being refers him as a prophet. The six rhetorical questions, raised by those around Jesus, demand an affirmative answer of Jesus’ identity. They not only raise the issue of identity, but suggest a possible origin of Jesus’ wisdom and power. Mark points out their mistakes that identifying Jesus as Mary’s son misses his identity as God’s son (1,1.11; 3,11; 5,7; 9,7; 12,6; 13,32; 14,61-62; 15,39), which is the main focus of the evangelist. The fourth and fifth questions miss the point that Jesus has a new family over whom he presides (3,31-35). For their prejudice against Jesus is because of familiarity with him and his family. There seem to be a narrowing down and a climactic order in the progression from home town (fellow townspeople) to relatives (extended family) to household (immediate family living in the same building). However, Mark depicts that social and cultural prejudice cannot permit them to accept Jesus as God’s son. And so their questions bring to an easy conclusion of Jesus being amazed at their lack of faith, although it contrasts with people who were amazed of his teaching earlier.