He came to his hometown and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us?
Where then did this man get all this?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor except in their own country and in their own house.” And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Today’s gospel reading marks a new section in Matthew in which Jesus begins the way of the Cross more explicitly and prepares his disciples to carry on after him. His rejection begins in his hometown!
Through his teaching in the synagogue, Jesus astounds the people. Rather than hearing his deeper meaning, however, the crowd focuses on the superficial and turns on Jesus. They wonder, How can the carpenter’s son, whose family we all know, be so full of wisdom and power?
Two phrases immediately come to mind: “You can’t go home again” and “familiarity breeds contempt.”
Jesus, one of their very own, had gone away and earned a reputation for building a kingdom of love and healing, yet even he acknowledges that “prophets are not without honor except in their own country and in their own house.” Despite recognizing Jesus as special and the bearer of a mighty message, Jesus’ own people miss the sacred for the mundane and turn homeland into hostile territory. As a result, Jesus does not perform any great works because of the people’s unbelief.
St. Ignatius invites us to put ourselves into these scenes so that we can better understand the gospel message and ourselves.
Ask yourself, when have I written someone off because of what I know, or think I know, of him or her? How open am I to allowing God to communicate with me through others?
—Jeremy Langford, Director of Communications for the Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits and author of Seeds of Faith: Practices to Grow a Healthy Spiritual Life ©2007 Paraclete Press, Brewster, MA.
Lord, how can it be that those who should most understand the experience and insight we bring to a challenge or opportunity can be the most dismissive? Give us the grace to persist for the good despite the lack of affirmation or encouragement. There are also times when we undervalue the contribution of another because of the person’s age or because of our familiarity with the individual. Lord, guide us to approach this day realizing that we must never decide in advance who will be your spokesperson.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!