WHY YOU MUST SHUN FAMILIARITY|14th Sunday|Year B

Have you ever wondered why some persons remain in their state of stagnancy, bondage or stunted material or spiritual growth even though they are close to God, have friends, family member or relatives who are either priests, bishops, pastors, etc?
After a deliverance prayer session, the person said to me: "father my younger brother is a priest but he doesn't believe one could be possessed by demons or manipulated by evil forces hence he was blind to my predicaments and disbelieved those who identified I had spiritual problems"
Listen, familiarity not only destroys interhuman relationships but also our relationship with God since it opposes faith-encounter. If this is too deep to understand read slowly...

Mark 6:1-6
Jesus went to his hometown and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, ‘Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?’ And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.
PRINTS FOR REFLECTION
1. The most severe critics of a man's life and work are those who have always known him. In the case of Jesus, it was his own hometown Nazareth who attempted to kill him; his own kin (relatives and neighbours) who thought he was mad (Mk 3:20-21), and his family members who were embarrassed by his claims and side talks from neighbours (Mk 3:31-32). For us priests (ministers), it is mostly our family members, friends, fellow priests, ministers and religious families where we belong, who either try to water down all you do or spread rumours of defamation against you. Nothing but over familiarity generate these. When this happens, interhuman relationships are ruptured.
2. Familiarity also impedes faith-encounter with God. When you become over familiar with God and things connected to the divine: the church, sacred vessels, sacramentals, ministers, etc such that you lack reverence for God, abuse or desecrate things considered holy, mishandle sacramentals by disposing them improperly (even when they are old), not respecting God's ministers even when they err, are actions that blocks divine favours and spiritual enrichment. No wonder the bible says Jesus worked no miracles there, though he cured a few sick people. The few cured must have been those who have not allowed over familiarity to blind them from seeing Jesus as One sent by God.
3. It is the envy of the devil from the outset to water down the plan and will of God, hence he tempts us always by making us fall into the error of familiarity. God must be feared and all things connected to the divine must be treated with a sense of sacred or tremendum (holy fear) otherwise we ruin ourselves and impede our faith-encounter with God.
TASK: Take a deep introspection into your spiritual life and look out for those ways you have allowed over familiarity to step in your relationship with God. Remember familiarity breeds contempt that grows into rejection! Reflect now with these questions:
a. How do I compose myself in Church: during prayers or during the Holy mass?

b. How do I handle Sacred things (sacramentals or sacred vessels)?

c. Do I dispose old or bad sacramentals (rosary, scapular, holy water, the blessed sacrament, etc) properly by burying them or disposing in the sacrarium?

d. Do I respect ministers of God sincerely for what and whom they represent, even they err? We may claim, they are humans but remember David (even though he was anointed) never laid his hands on Saul his arch enemy to kill him because he is God's anointed (1Sam 24:6-7). Remember Miriam who despised moses were struck with plague (Num 12:1-12). These and other scriptural evidences show that God does not joke with whatever belongs to Him.

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