Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 7, 2024

July 7, 2024


July 7, 2024

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time



Lemelle Abadie, D.Min.

Lemelle Abadie, D.Min.

Knowing Too Well?

How well would you say you know your family members? Your closest friends? Think of your best friend, or your favorite person. What do you know about them? Do you know their deepest hopes and dreams? Do you know their greatest fears? Do you share their most intimate thoughts? Do you know their capacity for good? Their potential for making decisions?

There’s an old saying, “Familiarity breeds contempt”. My interpretation of this maxim is that the more I get to know a person, the less I come to love that person.  I can instead, allow little things to diminish or erode my appreciation for them. I can perhaps get annoyed or resentful of their popularity. I can adopt the mindset, “I knew you when you were a nobody!” This may have been the case with the people in today’s Gospel.

Jesus visits his hometown and can work very few miracles there because the people knew him too well.  They knew his peeps, they remember him as Mary and Joe’s kid from down the street. “Hey! Isn’t this the Carpenter’s Son?” “He’s nothing special. We knew him when…” The gospel tells us they were astonished at the wisdom in his preaching, then as they realized who he was, they took offense at him.

And Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith.  These, after all, were the people who shaped and formed him as a child. These were the first people who showed him love. He recognized that he was put into a box by those who thought they knew him well. As we heard in the first reading from Ezekiel, “They shall know that a prophet is among them.” A Prophet is one who speaks on behalf of God and is the very presence of God in the community. The words may be comforting to those who are disturbed. These same words may also be disturbing to those who are comfortable. Jesus reminded them that a prophet was among them when he stated, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin.” This also speaks to the reading from Ezekiel where God is saying of his people, “They are hard of face and obstinate of heart.” Does this description fit us? Are we also “hard of face and obstinate of heart”?

There is a danger in thinking we know each other too well. Maybe we have “conversations” with others and because we think we know what they’re going to say, we cut them off before they have completed their sentences. We prepare our own rebuttal rather than listening to what is being said. In effect, we put each other in boxes. Just as boxes are taped up and labeled, so are our human boxes taped up and labeled, “Liberal”, “Conservative”, “Feminist”, “Narcissist” “Racist” “Orthodox” “Heterodox” “Woke” “Unenlightened” “Cancelled” or whatever the current label may be. We become dismissive of each other and refuse the gifts we are for the community, the world around us.

To be in conversation is to be open to conversion. We can be changed by understanding the other person’s point of view. We can grow in compassion and empathy when we listen to the reality of another person’s life. We can see things differently when we listen to their spoken truth and shared wisdom.

People in boxes can’t breathe! When we box the person and close our minds to the changing nature of humanity, the unfolding of possibility, we miss the fuller picture and rob ourselves of the wonders, the gifts, the potential for growth and conversion. Jesus’ hometown crowd closed their minds to the possibility that Jesus could be a great prophet, that he could be the Son of God!

There is danger in thinking we know Jesus too well. We fail to live and love like Jesus when we dismiss the command to love one another--ALL others as Christ loves us, especially those with labels we’ve made hard to love.

Familiarity doesn’t have to breed contempt. It can also be the doorstep to deepening relationship. Deepening relationship is the threshold of encounter with another and with the Divine.

Jesus’ hometown folks missed it! May we not do the same. Know Jesus, come to love him through Word and Sacrament. Know others well enough, and remain open for surprises! Remain open to the presence of God in our midst.

First Reading

Ez 2:2-5


Ps 123:1-2, 2, 3-4

Second Reading

2 Cor 12:7-10


Mk 6:1-6
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Bonnie LeMelle Abade, D.Min.

Bonnie LeMelle Abade, D.Min.

Bonnie LeMelle Abadie is a native of San Antonio, Texas. She holds a Doctoral Degree in Ministry (D. Min) and an M.T.S. from Oblate School of Theology; a B.A. in Religious Studies from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. Throughout her life in ministry (40+ years) she has served on parochial, deanery and archdiocesan levels as a teacher, facilitator, retreat director, catechist, liturgist, youth and young adult minister, campus minister, spiritual director, formator, administrator, conference speaker, singer, musician, poet, and artist. Bonnie was a contributing author for Liguorian Magazine from 2018 to 2022. She received a Catholic Press Award for best original poetry in 2019. Her book, Believing While Grieving: A Journey to find Blessing in Brokenness was inspired by her late husband, Maurice. Since 2004, Bonnie is a member of the faculty of Oblate School of Theology, currently an Associate Professor of Pastoral Studies, directing the programs of Theological Field Education and Supervised Ministry.


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