Year B, 14th Sunday Ordinary

Where did the Man Get All This?

July 9, 2000


Ronald D. Curley

TEXT: The Holy Gospel According to Saint Mark 6:1-6

St. Catherine of Siena was a saint that would not let the Lord God alone!

She constantly barraged the gates of heaven with prayer - and changed the face of her world. Her career was extraordinary. The Pope was living in Avignon and Catherine with the greatest of difficulty persuaded him to return to Rome. She performed miracles, suffered great austerities, subdued warring factions of the city-sates of Italy, stayed right next to a condemned man to be executed right up to the blade coming down on his neck in prayer for his soul, receiving a vision of his soul in heaven through her intercession, received the stigmata, and drew about her a crown of devoted men and women of the Church in the face of mounting opposition from many of the clergy of her day who were corrupted...

She was a lay sister of the Mantellate, a Dominican organization, I believe.

But, this sister was not the usual type of Mantellate, according to the spiritual director - because she could not seem to leave the communion rail after being served the Blessed Sacrament, fainted there and had to be bodily carried out of the Church often.

She also had many private revelations - and even though she never boasted of them, she was looked upon with suspicion and caution.

One of the greatest saints was looked upon with great suspicion.

She was in the Best Company...

OFTEN, the works of God are suspected as not being from God when we witness them face-to-face.

St. Mark records--

1 He went away from there and came to his own country; and his disciples followed him.

2 And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue; and many who heard him were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him? What mighty works are wrought by his hands!

How human are these responses beloved. They are like a mantra we speak whenever we see the mighty works of God through another person who chooses by grace through faith to become an instrument in the hands of God.

Jesus, the God-Man - the very Word of God - Immanuel - shoed forth the mighty works of God perfectly... being Very God and Very Man...

Where did this man get all this?

What is this wisdom given to him?

What mighty works are wrought by his hands!

O, that we were imbued with faith... no less than perfect faith that we might see the works of God for what they are... the actions of God in history for our benefit, graciously given to us humbly in perfect Love.

Like Saint Catherine, how many of us suffer within with tears and pain indescribable, waiting to "explode" with the message of God to others only to find our enthusiasm for God appreciated so much that those around throw water from large buckets upon our best intentions.

Caution often lays waste to the best of plans from God as we quench the Holy Spirit's leading.

We look at the wrong things!

Where did this man get all this?

What is this wisdom given to him?

We look for the world's standards of perfection, forgetting that it is GOD WHO CALLS, not man. Yes indeed, the Church must discern, but, it is God who calls and the Church must discern rightly the vocations from God that are without revocation ("For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable." Romans 11:29).

St. Louis de Montfort would never had written, "Love of Eternal Wisdom," and "True Devotion to Mary" had he listened to the discouraging remarks from former professors, other priests, and even Bishops who failed to understand the Saint that was in their midst!

What would have happened if Saint Catherine would have given up at the first sign of opposition, because she was a "mere woman" who was not properly ordained and trained to do the work of God she was called by God, like Montfort - to DO!

Jesus, the Very Word of God... is Wisdom Incarnated... Thus the mighty works of God, because when God the Word speaks, things happen!

But, how humanly we look at things.

3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him.

This "carpenter" was re-working the woodwork of the world!

At a recent Eucharistic Conference in Helena, there was a stand made by a carpenter friend of mine. Three of us (Eric W and Eric S) came up with the idea that the stand should be a tetrahedron with the Monstrance and Host atop it. This is a three-sided triangle on a triangular base, representative of the Holy Trinity... it was lined with votive candles, an impressive sight for the display of the Host for Adoration.

This finished oak work reminded me, [after the carpenter, Eric Winegart (Saint Gregory's Guild), completed this work of art], as a type (figure), a picture of the work of redemption of our Great Carpenter, Jesus. It is the supreme work he (with the Holy Trinity) has done for us in re-working our lives through a rough and unfinished wooden Cross - redeeming the world (mankind) through his most Precious Blood, broken Body on his most Holy Cross!

We adore thee O Christ...

Yet, The Eternal Word of God knew our hearts and loved us unconditionally.

4 And Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house."

5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them.

6 And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching.

Listen to this - NO great works could be done there because of UNBELIEF. He laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them, but no "great works": were done there...

So, he went about among the village teaching.

I am not sure what this is saying to us, beloved.

But, I have a notion it is saying something about believing God's words and works when we see them!

Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom given to him?

Well, believe the mighty works then! What mighty works are wrought by his hands!

When we hear the teaching of the Church faithfully proclaimed by the Priests and Deacons as well as others who proclaim the message of God through the Church as Baptized members of the Body, we need to listen carefully to what is being proclaimed and hear with our "spiritual ears" what God is saying through the faithful servants of God.

Perhaps, God is actually still pouring out his Spirit even in our days and new movements of God are preparing the world for the greatest evangelisms of all time!

Our God is the same yesterday, today and forever! ("Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings..." Hebrews 13:8, 9a)

Let is discern rightly the truths of the Church we love as we listen and obey the words of God as they are proclaimed to us through the faithful teachers of the Church.

We recall the presence of Mary, the Mother of God, who followed Jesus always with a perfect heart. She is our example as we observe and listen to the voice of God through those who proclaim glad tidings to all people.

May her prayers go with us as we seek to hear Jesus and listen to him and obey his words to us. Spiritus Domine super me: evangelizare pauperibus misit me. (Luke 4:18)

Deus et Sanctissima.

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