Sunday Readings: Ezekiel 2.2-5; 2 Corinthians 12.7-10; Mark 6.1-6
Jesus came to his native place with 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 to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not his sisters here with us?” They took offense at him….Jesus could do no deed of power there. – Mark 6.1-3
Surprisingly, Jesus can work no miracles is his hometown, Nazareth. Jesus’ homefolks can’t get beyond their certainty that they know who he is. His preaching astounds some, but the majority can’t accept him as a wise and prophetic teacher. He is a tradesman who can terrace your hillside or build a wall.
This is a story of rejection, of dismissing the gifts of a homegrown prophet. This is our story, too, every time we refuse to change or doom new possibilities to fail.
A doctor commented about certainty in our small Christian community. “Certainty can kill a patient,” he says. “I teach medical students to stay curious, look further, keep probing for diagnosis and cure. It’s so easy to miss clues.”
“The opposite of faith is not doubt but certainty,” theologian Bernard Lonergan writes. Doubt implies questioning, challenging, actively engaging a person or a thought. But certainty dismisses the need for further search and for living with questions.
What is valuable about doubt and curiosity in your experience and dangerous about certainty?