14th Sunday Ordinary Time Year B

This Sunday’s Gospel has Jesus returning to his home village, Nazareth and the people of the village “took offence at him” (v3).

Whenever I read this story in Mark’s Gospel, I am reminded of a most intriguing novel I read some years ago.

The novel is by the Irish author and playwright Brinsley MacNamara and is titled, The Valley of the Squinting Windows.

Written in 1918, the novel is set in the fictional village of Garradrimna, in central Ireland where everyone is interested in everyone else’s business and wishes them to fail.

Gossip and finger-pointing are rife. [The Valley of the Squinting Windows, so enraged the Westmeath community in which MacNamara lived that the book was publicly burned, its author humiliated and his father, the local schoolteacher, boycotted and driven into exile.]

The novel exposed the bitter cruelty of village morality.

The smaller the society, the more controlling this narrow spirit.

“Beneath the charm of the rural town or village, there often lurks a lethal intolerance.”

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