PROPER 9 (14) – Year B

7th Sunday after Pentecost — July 7, 2024

Gospel Lectionary Text

Mark 6:1-13

6:1 He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.

6:2 On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, "Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands!

6:3 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.

6:4 Then Jesus said to them, "Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house."

6:5 And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them.

6:6 And he was amazed at their unbelief. Then he went about among the villages teaching.

6:7 He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.

6:8 He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts;

6:9 but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics.

6:10 He said to them, "Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place.

6:11 If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them."

6:12 So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent.

6:13 They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.


Welcome to the seventh Sunday after Pentecost. In this week’s text, Jesus returns to his hometown and teaches in the synagogue. At first, His community is astonished by His “wisdom” and “power,” but this quickly turns to scandal.

We can almost hear them murmuring, "Isn’t this the carpenter, Mary’s son, our neighbor? Who does he think he is?” Their disbelief isn’t just skepticism — it's rivalry, born of envy. As the saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt. It blinds them to the fullness of Jesus' identity. The hometown hero quickly becomes a homegrown threat.

Even Jesus is “amazed” at their “unbelief,” a sharp contrast with the faith of the “unclean” woman from last week (Mark 5). It's a tragic revelation — those who thought they knew Jesus best were unable to see the divine breaking through someone so familiar.


If Jesus showed up at one of our churches today, how might 2,000 years of familiarity with Him blind us to the in-breaking of the divine and breed contempt among us?


Come, Holy Spirit, wild and free. Do as you please. Shine your light on me that I might see things as they are, not as I am. Free me to act in your name with courage, creativity, and compassion. See the complete prayer

Word from Below Reflections

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Vulnerability and Authority

Having given away or sold most of our stuff, my wife Melanie and I were headed to Asia as community development workers with an organization called Gooddeeds. The name pretty much summed up what we wanted to do. As a young couple we wanted to engage our lives and our faith with the poorest, someplace....

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