(Mt 13, 54-58)
He came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue.
They were astonished and said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?
Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?
Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?”
And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.”
And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith.
We cannot underestimate the importance of biological needs. Just look at the motives that drove the people to search for Jesus, they expend a lot of time and effort in finding Him not because of His life giving word but because they eat bread and were satisfied. Thus mission must not only be upward looking but must also be mindful of the realities on the ground.
But Jesus without relativizing human biological needs that must be attended to invites the people to a deeper and wholesome form of satisfaction. He invites them to look beyond personal needs and respond to the deeper need of the human spirit. That there is more to life than material satisfaction and comfort. And He called it work. The people should work for food that do not perish. The work is too easy and hard at the same time. They need to believe in Him who was sent by the Father. Thus it is not physical bodily works that assures food that lasts forever but the works of the spirit.
Fr. Paulson V. Veliyannoor, CMF.