Good morning, happy Friday, and many blessings.
The Gospel today (Matthew 13:54-58) tells us of Jesus’ visit to Nazareth, His native community. Passing through Nazareth was painful for Jesus. What was His community at the beginning, now is no longer. Something has changed.
It seems there was a moment when the light broke through, when the people realized the power of Jesus’ wisdom and actions. Then the clouds came over and they thought, ‘If he were so special we would not have missed it.’
We know for sure that where there is no faith, Jesus can work no miracles. The people of Nazareth were so sure they knew everything about Jesus that they were not ready to be surprised by his novelty. We are shocked by the refusal of Jesus’ neighbors to accept him. They were so sure they knew him well that they thought they knew everything about him.
We also need to recognize that the Nazarenes were jealous of Jesus, they couldn't cope with Him being anything other than the carpenter's son. They wanted to take him down to their level. How do you respond to positive growth and change to others that you knew in the in past? Next time you meet someone from the past and notice how they have grown since you last met them, will you give generous acknowledgement, or will you take offence?
We live in an era of mass prejudices, of a disturbing rise in racial tensions and even hatred. I ask to become aware of my own prejudices, of what blocks me from seeing the new and the good in others I think I know well, be they individuals or groups. Am I sure I know Jesus so well I cannot know him better? I may have lost the ability to be surprised by Jesus, by his way of acting and by his demands on me. I ask not to be closed to his presence and deaf to his calling.
We can easily ignore or despise what is familiar. How was it for Jesus when his own people ‘took offence at him’ just because they knew him? Speak with Jesus about this, recalling what happens for yourself when people are rude to you.
After reading this gospel, I realize that is always a risk, even for me, because I might find myself resisting his presence in new areas of my life, or his challenges to some of my relationships, or to my attitudes to what is happening in the Church and in the world around me. I ask for an open heart, for the willingness to know Jesus ever better so that I may love him more and follow him more closely.
Today I invite you so we can pray for the victims of non-acceptance, especially for migrants and refugees, LGBTQ, women, homeless, drug users, etc.