Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B

Posté par diaconos le 30 juin 2021

N'est-il pas le charpentier, le fils de Marie ? | Don Bosco Salesian Portal

Is he not the carpenter’s son ?

# Joseph is a Jewish character who appears for the first time in the Gospel according to Matthew and in the Gospel according to Luke: these passages were probably added later and called the infancy gospels of Jesus (Mt 1,18 and Lk 2,3). Josephus also appears in a later text, the Protevangel of James, composed in the middle of the second century; this version is incompatible in some respects with that of the canonical Gospels.

According to the Synoptic Gospels, and then according to Christian authors and especially the Fathers of the Church, Joseph is a distant descendant of Abraham and King David (Mt 1:1-17) from the tribe of Judah. He was engaged to Mary when she became pregnant by the action of the Holy Spirit. He then married Mary and, by accepting the child, became the adoptive father of Jesus, who thus belonged to his line, that of David.

The Synoptic Gospels insist on this point, because for them Jesus is « the Messiah son of David ». Joseph is presented as a « righteous man » who accepted Mary and her child following the message of the Angel of the Lord (God). Controversial Jewish texts such as the censored passages of the Talmud or the Toledot Yeshu present Jesus as born out of wedlock.

In Mt 13:55 Joseph is said to be a « carpenter », although it is not clear whether this term is to be taken in its original sense or as a « wise man ». Joseph is mentioned for the last time during the family’s pilgrimage to Jerusalem when Jesus, at the age of twelve, is found in the Temple (Lk 2:41-50).

Christian tradition and some historical critics have deduced that he died before Jesus entered public life. Joseph is called « Joseph the betrothed (of Mary) » in the Orthodox tradition or more generally « St Joseph ». He has become a figure of Christian tradition. The month of March is dedicated to him, especially on 19 March when he is celebrated by the entire Catholic Church.

1 May is dedicated to Saint Joseph, the worker. The Catholic Church takes up an oral tradition, linked to Jerome of Stridon, who recounts that Joseph had dedicated himself to God before meeting the Virgin Mary, and thus explains that the terms « brothers and sisters » of Jesus mentioned in the Gospels are to be understood as close cousins by blood, affection and relationship, according to the use of these words.

The Orthodox Church teaches that Joseph was a widower when he became engaged to Mary; he is said to have had children from his first marriage, including James the Just. This tradition is based on the Gospel of James, where it says that Mary is consecrated to the Lord by her parents (Prot. James 4,1) and that a priest orders Joseph to marry her, despite his reluctance: « I have children, I am an old man, and she is a very young girl. Will I not become the laughing stock of the children of Israel ?   » (Proverbs 9, 1-2).

From the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Mark

At that time Jesus went to his hometown and his disciples followed him.  On the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue. Many of those who heard him were astonished and said, « Where does this come from ?  What is this wisdom that has been given him, and these great miracles that are done by his hands?  Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Jose, Judas and Simon ?

Are not his sisters here with us ? « And they were deeply shocked at him. Jesus said to them, « A prophet is not despised except in his own country and in his own family and in his own house. « And there he could perform no miracle; he only healed some of the sick by laying his hands on them. And he was surprised at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching in the surrounding villages. (Mk 6, 1-6)

Jesus of Nazareth

In the first reading, the prophet Ezekiel has been called by the Lord to have the Word of God revealed in its power. But he is warned in advance that he will be faced with a rebellious brood: I heard the Lord speaking to me, saying : « Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to this rebellious people who have rebelled against me.  « (Ez 2, 2)

In the second reading, St Paul also made this discovery that completely changed his life. The apostle’s weaknesses only serve to highlight the power of God at work in him. Like all prophets, he became totally dependent on the Word of God. His sad failure in Athens did not prevent him from writing to the Corinthians : « I accept weakness, insults, constraints, persecutions and painful situations with all my heart for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.   » (2 Co 12, 10)

And today’s gospel shows us Jesus facing failure in his ministry. He is too well known. The people of Nazareth, his village, spent their childhood with him; he plied his trade as a carpenter with Joseph; some of them certainly benefited from his work and services. Very close to the people, he was also very close to God. This is shown in his miracles and in his speeches. For the people of Nazareth this is something totally new.

They discover in him someone who begins to speak and act in the name of God.  Who does he think he is ? His fellow countrymen cannot accept this change. They have not discovered the sacredness hidden in his daily life. It is not possible for them. This gospel calls us to take another step on the road to conversion; we are all invited to step out of our certainties

Faith is not primarily a question of knowledge; it is above all a perpetual question : « Who is Jesus for me ?  The answer will be given at the foot of the cross by the Roman centurion: « Truly, this man was the Son of God. « 

Christ would like to reach us. And he puts the right people on our path: a neighbour, a colleague, an elderly person or a young person, simple people. It is through them that God comes to challenge us. Will we be able to see in them people sent by God ? When God wants to speak to us, he does not go looking for someone on the other side of the world.

And we ourselves are sent to those around us, our families, our villages and our neighbourhoods. We may face derision or indifference. But like the prophet Ezekiel, we are not sent to lead people to believe, but to speak the Word of God. Beware, the main thing may not be to succeed ! « God does not ask us to succeed, but to work.  « (St John Chrysostom)

Let us ask the Lord to free us from certainties that are too deeply rooted. They prevent us from recognising and loving the Lord. And above all, they prevent us from loving him. At the end of the Mass, we will be sent as witnesses of the Gospel. May the Lord give us the grace to overcome discouragement, to bear criticism, to endure painful situations. It is important to know how to recover after a failure.  We have faith in Jesus, the master of the mission, who acts through those he sends.

Deacon Michel Houyoux

Additional information

Deacon Michel Houyoux : click here to read the paper →  Fourteenth Sunday in ordinary time – Year A

Links to other Christian websites

◊ Faher Hanly : click here to read the paper →  Homily for 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

◊ Loyopla Press : click here to read the paper →   TURNING TO GOD IN TIMES OF TRAGEDY

  Father Azekias Carnazzo  : « Sunday Gospel Reflection for the Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary »

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