Homily – 14th Sunday Ordinary Time – Overcoming Familiarity

Every Superhero needs a disguise.  If the wrong people were to find out your identity they would then hurt your loved ones.     Some superheroes have better disguises than others.


Spiderman has his whole face covered – it is a very good disguise.


Now Batman you can see his mouth and his chin but the rest of his face is covered and he also disguises his voice by talking like this.


The superhero with the worst disguise is Superman.   Glasses – Clark Kent.  No Glasses – Superman.


It is a terrible disguise, but it worked.  Nobody ever guessed that Clark Kent was superman.   They didn’t even notice a resemblance.   Clark Kent was just too ordinary and shy for anyone to even consider he could be Superman.  Even if he admitted it nobody would take him seriously – probably an April fools day joke.   They knew Clark and he was NOT anyone special.


This is what happens in our Gospel today.   Jesus comes to teach in his home synagogue where his family and neighbours would have worshipped.  They listen to him – they even acknowledge that he has words of wisdom, they hear of his mighty deeds, but in the end they are unimpressed.  Jesus – Jesus the son of Mary – he can’t be the messiah – we know him, our kids played with him when he was little, he’s the carpenter who helped fix our plough and build our home.   He’s one of us – he’s not anyone special.   They refuse to take Jesus very seriously because they are so familiar with him.  They know Jesus and they know that Jesus is not the Messiah.


Familiarity blinded the people of Nazareth from recognizing Jesus and responding to him.  They thought they knew him, but they missed who he really was.


As practicing Catholic, we can begin to have a sort of familiarity about the things of Church.   We know the bible and it’s message.    We’ve heard the same readings dozens, maybe hundreds of times.   We know when to sit, to stand to kneel.  We notice if the server forgot to ring the bells.    We’ve received communion so many times we could do it blindfolded and backwards.


The means the Mass can become a routine – nothing special.  We don’t expect any “words of wisdom” in the readings or from the preacher.  We’re not looking for “Deeds of power” or anything that would change our lives.   You can move along people, nothing Special is happening here, just another Sunday Mass.


Yet today Jesus is visiting us just like he visited his town of Nazareth.  The Lord is coming with word’s of wisdom:  We are truly listening to the WORD of God – God has something that he wants to say to you.  It should make us feel a little special and It is worth paying attention.   The Word of God is not just a message for the past but a message for today.  Every Sunday Jesus has something to say to me and I need to listen to the Word and open my heart to hear it.     Sometimes it is a word of encouragement when I am at the point of giving up, Words of consolation in times of sorrow – other times he will correct us or challenges us to be more generous, less selfish.  Jesus is here and he has something to say.  It’s worth listening!


Jesus has something to day and he also wants to do ‘great deeds among us”   Whether they are certifiable miracles or not Jesus walks among us today – in the Holy Communion it is the Risen Lord who comes to us – he comes like before to bring good news to the poor, liberty to captives, sight to blind, a year of God’s favour.    Jesus gives the elderly woman suffering from chronic pain is given enough strength to go for one more week, the other woman who is fostering a grudge is finally led to forgive sister, the man who is at wits end with his rebellious teenaged son is given patience and understanding, another is helped to admit his addiction,  a child decides that she will share more with her siblings.   Every Sunday there are little miracles that happen, there are great deeds.  We may no see them all.  We may not experience them every time – but if like Nazareth we approach Jesus with familiarity instead of faith he will be unable to do much among us.


Jesus visited his home town of Nazareth as was unable to do many miracles there because the people did not believe.   Today Jesus visits us at St. Michael’s – he proclaims his word – he comes to heal us.  How will we receive him?  What great works will he be able to do among us?