Today’s Gospel reading is a sad account. Jesus preached and taught in his “native place”, but for the most part, his words were not received, he did not perform healings, exorcisms, he was not able to bring those who knew him for the greater majority of his life into deeper communion with his Father. The whole reason that he came was to bring light to a world suffering in darkness, and those closest to him refused the invitation such that: “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” (Mk 6:6).
Is our world today becoming more and more like Jesus’ “native place”? Do we take Jesus for granted, if we pay attention to him at all? Many expend more energy on cynicism, taking care of number one, and an uncritical acceptance of empiricism or scientism. Again, a sad state because science is an awesome gift. Science and faith come from the same source, our intrinsic ability to embrace wonder! These two are not incompatible. Authentic faith seeks understanding. A questioning and searching mind are the ingredients for a living, relevant, and vibrant faith and life.
Faith without reason, as well as reason without faith, leads to a more limited understanding of the vast expanse of creation. Scientism is limiting the very gift of science itself because it stops when the questions get really interesting, when the exploration goes beyond the measurable, the sensate experiences as we know them. Faith without reason can devolve into mere superstition.
May we resist setting limits, settling for a minimalist or cynical approach, and the hardening of our hearts, and instead open ourselves up to the limitless possibilities God opens up before us! There is so much to experience in God’s creation if we just slow down and are still enough to experience the wonder of our everyday moments all around us. The Holy Spirit works through each of us when we resist keeping each other at a distance and are willing to encounter and accompany one another. We can experience so much more by embracing our faith and reason, and opening our hearts and minds to the wonder and glory of God, which is the human being fully alive!
Photo: Fort Funston Beach, San Francisco, CA this past Thanksgiving