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Gospel Reading for January 31, 2024 – Mark 6: 1-6
Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 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.” So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.
Usually, when we have been away from our home (in the province) or native place for quite some time and come back, we expect to receive a warm welcome. It is a homecoming after all, and people would be so glad to hear stories of our achievements. Alas for Jesus, instead of his townsfolk being happy for him and proud of the wisdom he acquired, which astonished them, they started digging into his past in order to belittle him and bring to naught whatever he had achieved.
This is usually a product of ENVY, one of the 7 capital sins. St. Thomas Aquinas says, that ENVY arouses a struggle in three stages: during the first stage, the envious person attempts to lower another’s reputation; in the middle stage, the envious person receives either “joy at another’s misfortune” (if he succeeds in defaming the other person) or “grief at another’s prosperity” (if he fails); and the third stage is hatred because “sorrow causes hatred.’” Hence, although ENVY attempts to destroy another person, it also destroys the person who is envious him/herself because he cannot enjoy happiness and will just experience sorrow everytime he/she sees the object of ENVY having a good life.
No wonder, there is a need for the 10th Commandment, “Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s goods.” God, in his infinite wisdom gives us graces and blessings as he sees fit. We are not to question what he gives others. All we have to do is appreciate, and grow with, what is given to us, and use them to do our share in making the world a better place to live in, like St. John Bosco, who we remember today, and who gave his life to orphaned and homeless children.
Thank you, Lord, for all the gifts/graces you have given us! May we use them well, for your greater glory!