He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.
Then he went about among the villages teaching.
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
If I were in the synagogue that day, where would I stand? What would be my reaction to Jesus? It certainly sounds like I would also be astonished. But would that lead to the skepticism of knowing he is just one of us and therefore cannot be so special. Would my skepticism drag him down and impede his ability to cure and do mighty deeds. Whose potential do I negatively impact today because of my skepticism and jealousy?
Unfortunately, it is not hard for me to question and judge who others are and what they do at times. How often have I seen another person doing good and judged his/her motives to be bad? How often have I said to myself, “that is not as special as people seem to think it is?” How often have I felt, if only I had the same advantages I could be doing such wonderful things as well? Such skepticism and jealousy just suck life out of me and the people around me. It is very helpful for me to remember that these people I question and judge are loved children of God no less than I am, perhaps even more.
Fortunately, it is hard for me to imagine how I might react to Jesus because God has given and sustained in me the gift of faith through so many good people in my life. This long line of people starts with my own parents and godparents who spoke for me, a cradle Catholic, at baptism. It continues with brothers and sisters, friends, children, even grandchildren and many Jesuits who continue to inspire faith in me. I must pray more often in thanksgiving for all these people. Maybe I could even be such a person for those whom I question and judge.
—David McNulty is the Provincial Assistant for Advancement, Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits
Lord, when we are accused of self-seeking motives or when our vision and actions are denounced as mediocre or even ridiculous, help us not to fold. If we move in your truth with a humility to serve, bolster our conviction to do what is right in the right way. And should we be the source of unfair judgments or be the bystander whose silence reinforces subtle cruelties, give us the grace to move away from this spirit of cowardice.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!