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Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

Heb. 12:4-7, 11-15 & Mk. 6:1-6

Why does God allow suffering? He is not some ogre who delights in seeing His creatures in pain and misery. He is good and loving, so in His plan suffering must have some higher purpose.

In relation to God we are like little children who cannot understand why parents discipline them. But parents who fail to impose rules do not love their children properly. Allowing complete freedom, no matter what the consequence, is doing the children irreparable harm. Only when children grow up and become parents themselves do they begin to appreciate their training.

In this life we can never understand the way of God, so we have to accept by faith the suffering that comes our way. Jesus Himself, God’s beloved Son, endured suffering through His life and in the manner of His death. God loved His Son without reservation and when we suffer we must believe that our Father loves us the same way.

You would have thought that the people who had known Jesus as a child and adult would have been proud of Him. But when He came back home to meet and speak to them they did not want to know Him. In fact they had no time for Him! Why? Were they jealous? Could it be that they were so short-sighted that they failed to see the spiritual giant Who had grown up among them? They appear to have had preconceived ideas of Jesus and were not prepared to give Him a chance to prove Himself. Just think that because of this the greatest teacher in the world stood before them and they learned nothing from Him! As a result of their lack of faith they failed to experience the power of His miracles.

If there is an air of expectancy even the poorest preaching can catch fire. In an atmosphere of critical coldness or bland indifference, the most Spirit-packed utterance can fall lifeless to the earth. How true were the words of Jesus, “A prophet is only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house?”

Those people were unable to grasp the greatness of Jesus simply because they could not see beyond the familiar. But let us not be too quick to judge them because we, too, could be blind like them. Do we fail to see God in the people we meet and in the everyday events of life? We tend to look for God in the unfamiliar and unexpected, and fail to realise that He is there before our every eyes in the sufferings and joys of the people with whom we live. All we need to do is to open our eyes to the people of our community and the events of our time. God is closer to us than we think. Let us meet Him in the lives of all the people we meet.

Lord Jesus, may we appreciate the value of suffering, and may we recognize You in the people we meet every day.

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