Saint Blaise is best known for the tradition of blessing throats linked to him. An Armenian bishop. Blaise suffered martyrdom during the persecution of Licinius, in the early 4th century. While little is known about him, it is said that religious oppression forced him to live as a hermit in a cave.
According to legend, Blaise performed a miraculous cure on a boy who was choking to death. Blaise has long been associated with cures for afflictions of the throat, and the blessing of throats may take place on this day in memory of him. He is a patron of wool-combers and of all who suffer from afflictions of the throat. He is also a patron of wild beasts, as legend suggests he had a remarkable calming influence on animals.
Saint Ansgar is the patron saint of Denmark, Germany and Iceland. Ansgar was born about 801 of a noble family near Amiens. He was sent to study at the nearby monastery of Old Corbie and decided to become a monk in order to preach to the pagans. He moved to the Benedctine monastery of New Corbie, where he called o his extraordinary talent for oratory. Known as the Apostle of the North, he died in 865 greatly venerated for his charity and sanctity.
Hebrews 12. 4 – 7, 11 – 15
Mark 6. 1 – 6
This Gospel reading begins as Jesus and His disciples return home, to his native place. On the Sabbath, Jesus went to the synagogue and He began to teach. All who listened to Jesus were astonished. They were taken aback at the power of His teaching as well as the power of His presence. This was Jesus, a man they knew very well. He was a man who had grown up in their midst.
How had Jesus become so knowledgeable and such a powerful speaker? He was the son of a carpenter, not the son of a rabbi. Many people in his hometown discounted Jesus and His message. They refused to listen to Him. After all, who did Jesus think He was to preach to the people who had known Him from birth? Jesus did not get angry. Rather, Jesus replied to their comments by saying that typically a prophet is not honored by the people who have known him from birth. Jesus realized that He simply was too familiar to them. They only saw in Him what they wanted to see. Thus Jesus was unable to perform any great deeds there as they did not have faith in Him. It can be easy to discount the people whom we know the best. They are so very familiar to us that we simply may take them for granted. Take a moment and think about the people in your life: what are their gifts? How do they gift you with their love and care? Do you appreciate them? Do you appreciate their gifts and talents? Do you let them know how important they are to you? Today make time to give thanks for the many people who love and care about you! In some small way, let them know how grateful you are to have them in your life!
It’s easy to think you know people. Then they can surprise you. We can find ourselves making opinions and judgements easily on people on colour, race or age. Or we know them for a long time and then something happens like a marriage or a death and we see another side to them.
We think the same even about Jesus – was Jesus a carpenter? No! He could work in wood, metal or stone! So immediately we are challenged by this gospel like they were. Here was the ordinary man, going every week to work in Sepphoris, a few km from his home, now taking on the role of preacher and prophet. Nothing divine about that – or maybe it’s one of the most divine things we can do! Work and family bring us close to God who is working all the time and who is loving all the time.
How might you see God today – creation, love, silence, care? A new baby in the family – God’s creation of new life with us, or someone who is very ill but in weakness of the body is also finding peace in the prospect of heaven….that is God at work. God is around in the depth moments of life.
What does this gospel make of Jesus? He makes sense of our lives with us and for us, teaching and healing with compassion and love. We do not know him fully, we don’t know all he said, but live by the echo of his words.
Think over yesterday – what gave you a lift in the heart,
a sense of peace, the presence of God.
Lord, I thank you for the wonder of us all!
God bless. Have a blessed day