The gospel for today’s Eucharistic liturgy, (Mark 6:1-6), is a story that might be likened to an event in your life. Most can recall --some may not be able to forget-- a moment when the painful reality of rejection may have pulled your legs from beneath you
Most collegians return home from four or five years of hard work -- for the most part! Often, only after a few weeks or perhaps days, there is “that conversation” when it becomes clear that parents, siblings, relatives or friends level the rejection charge against you: “My goodness, you have really changed.”
Once anyone embarks upon a journey away from the house or surroundings where you had become “that wonderful kid up the street,” change inevitable. After some time of absence whether for learning or some significant time of travel in foreign cultures, you might say you return to begin a lonely journey. Without any warning you have encountered the same question Jesus faced on his first return to Nazareth after he had begun his preaching and teaching ministry: “Where did this man get all this?” What you prized as your personal opening to great wisdom has become a threat to others!
In our own days our faith demands of us that we not cower to those people or words that speak out of a genuine fear. Being a person of faith is never easy.
Today we recall and honor a fourth century saint, Blaise, who had a reputation for his care of those with sore throats. So, in Catholic churches around the world there is the annual blessing of throats using blessed candles.
Perhaps we can also ask for this Armenian saint to intercede for us beyond care for healthy throats. We might also petition for the grace and the strength to speak out for our faith, to speak the truth when it is challenged.