Open your hearts, minds and wills to give
Christ power to be at work within you.
Mark 6:1-6 for the Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time.
The Nazareth neighbors of Christ acknowledged the wisdom they heard when he taught in their house of worship.
They also knew he had the power to work wonders.
They had probably heard he had even raised a dead girl back to life just the day before.
Unfortunately, they thought of him as a mere neighbor and blue-collar worker.
They refused him the credit, acceptance and faith that his miraculous works and wisdom had earned elsewhere.
Where hearts are closed and faithless, no mighty wonders can happen for us, even if they happen for others.
Christ was unwilling to force miracles upon the people of Nazareth.
In fact, the Gospel today testifies that he was not able— he did not have power— to perform any mighty deed in Nazareth.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.
They closed their hearts and minds.
So, he extended his healing mercy only upon a few sick people.
The shutting of the human mind and heart— it was this shutting that the Son of God faced and took upon himself in becoming human like us.
In Christ who grew up in Nazareth, in Christ the hearts and minds of all humanity are open again: open in the openness and obedience of Christ to his mission, obedience even unto death, death on the Cross, the Cross where even his heart of flesh is stabbed open by the blade of a spear.
The God Man with the Eternally Open Heart grew up in a town of closed hearts.
Except for the open hearts of Joseph and Mary!
The Gospel shows those two as: either receiving an invitation from God calling for an open heart; or answering and obeying God with an open heart.
When Joseph and Mary lost and found the ancient twelve-year old, he invited them to open themselves to his mission.
Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house? [Luke 2:49]
The ancient and eternally new heart of the Son of the Most High was also open to Joseph and Mary.
The Gospel tells us he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. [Luke 2:51]
The Son of God was obedient to Joseph and Mary.
In the life, death and resurrection of Christ, true God and true man, the heart of all humanity is perfectly open for God.
And in the life, death and resurrection of Christ, true God and true man, the eternally open heart of God is present for and in humanity itself.
In Christ, living, dead and risen, the open heart of humanity and the eternally open heart of God are one and the same, pierced open to be the one and ultimately only doorway whereby God and humanity enter into communion with each other.
The death of Christ on the Cross is his mightiest deed— greater than any other wonder he could have worked in Nazareth or anywhere else.
In the weakness, wounding and death of Christ, God reveals his power— the power to save humanity from its own tightly shut heart.
Yet— mysteriously— despite his boundless power to save, today the Gospel tells us he was amazed at Nazareth’s lack of faith.
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
Today in his Eucharist, Christ comes to us as to Nazareth.
Let us not amaze him with our lack of faith.
Rather, let us admit we are sick like some in Nazareth, for we all have the sickness called sin.
Then, even if Christ performs no other mighty deed here today, he will cure us of our sins.
That is the beginning of all that is good for us.
Turn. Love. Repeat.