Gospel: 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?” 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.
Jesus in some ways enjoyed his process/journey in life. He expected rejection. He would transform this rejection into life.
Often we feel rejection when our dreams do not come to fruition.
A friend fantasized about being a musician—a rock star, a phenomenal guitar player. He imagined being on stage, playing to screams of the crowd, people absolutely loosing their minds to his sweet finger-noodling glory. This fantasy kept him occupied for hours on end. It wasn’t about “if”, but “when”. It was all planned out: first he would have to bide his time, second he would finish school—making extra cash for guitar. Third he would make time to practice. Then… nothing.
Despite fantasizing half of his life, the reality didn’t come to fruition. And it took him a long time to finally figure it out. He didn’t actually want it.
My friend was in love with result—the image on stage, people cheering wildly, him rocking out, and pouring his heart into what he was playing… but he wasn’t in love with the process.
He failed. Actually, he didn’t even try enough to fail at it. He hardly tried at all. He never went through the daily drudgery of daily practice, logistics of finding a group and rehearsing, the pain of finding gigs and actually getting people to show up and give a hoot. He didn’t go through broken strings, the blown tube amp, hauling 40 pounds of gear to and from rehearsals with no car.
It is a mountain of a dream and a mile high climb to the top. My friend realized after a long time he didn’t like to climb much. He just liked to imagine the summit. It is like wanting to be a Marine, a teacher, or making the golf team without sweat or fear of being cut.
Beloved, it is all about process.
The truth is far less interesting. He thought he wanted something, but it turns out he didn’t. End of story.
He wanted reward without struggle, relationships or the cross.
He wanted the result without the process.
He was in love with not the fight, but the victory.
The thorn that St. Paul talks about is the fantasy of finishing the race before one barely starts. It is a God thing after all. This is not willpower or grit. It is a simple component of life. Our struggles determine our successes. Our problems birth our happiness… along with slightly better, slightly upgraded problems.
To follow Jesus is a never-ending upward spiral. There is no rest in peace. And if you think at any point we are allowed to stop climbing, I’m afraid you’re missing the point of the Gospel. This is the reason Jesus and all the true prophets are rejected. Because they tell us the joy is in the struggle and climb up the mountain and onto the Cross. And the people and his family did not want to hear that. O my!
July 15, 2018 ~ St. Monica, Palatka ~ Father Ron
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