Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week of Matthew
In today’s Gospel, the Lord’s fellow townsmen are offended because of His teaching them in the synagogue:
At that time, Jesus came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits. – Mark 6: 1-7
We may often become discouraged, because it seems that even those nearest and dearest to us are not interested in our Faith, or, if they are Orthodox nominally, are not interested in deepening their understanding and practice of the Faith. If even the Lord Himself was ignored, even derided, by His own (He came unto his own, and his own received him not – John 1:11), who are we to think that we will convert or inspire those close to us? The servant is not greater than his lord…(John 15:20). We must always be concerned for the salvation of our neighbor, but we must also be humble enough to realize that not everything we say or do to show our concern will be effective. There are several reasons for this:
- Ultimately, the salvation of the other person is in the hands of God. He alone knows what the other person really needs at this or that point. We do our best and put the rest in God’s hands.
- The other person has his own mind and his own will. “One man can lead a horse to water, but a thousand men cannot make him drink.” What is in the other person’s heart is, in the final analysis, a mystery known to God alone.
- We are but the least of God’s servants. Perhaps we lack something in our own wisdom, or in the example that we give. Let us repent and pray for that wisdom and to become the good example the other person needs.
May the Lord always give us loving hearts which desire the salvation of our neighbor, and may He at the same time give us the desire to seek only His holy will, and to leave all things in His hands. He loves our neighbor and desires his salvation infinitely more than we do. May He save and have mercy upon us all.