He left that place and came to his home town, 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 offence at him.
Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour, except in their home town, 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.
Today’s reading brings Jesus back to his hometown, and perhaps like some of us may have experienced in our lives and families, Jesus finds that his family and friends aren’t able to welcome him with open arms and hearts. In fact, Jesus finds that his family and friends resist and reject who he has become since leaving their town as the well-known son of Mary, serving as a carpenter like his father.
When Jesus teaches and preaches in his hometown synagogue, family and friends seem to gossip and become suspect- almost accusing Jesus of coming to “put on airs” when he is “just” a carpenter, untrained in giving a sacred message or prayer or a healing as requested and needed.
Jesus’ people feel uncomfortable encountering him in his baptized state, as a beloved son of God. While Jesus is still a familiar Jew in their synagogue, they can’t get past the Jesus they “used to know and recognize”. They can’t accept Jesus living into his call, living with the inner authority, wisdom and power given to him by God. In fact, Jesus’ people can’t even listen to his message. They can’t even receive the gifts he wants to give them…
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native home and among his own kin…”
How do you recognize Jesus when he enters into your life? How do you accept the gifts that Jesus is ready to bless you with? How do you receive and celebrate the people that Jesus uses in his ministry- people who may be made anew through their own baptism and call of God’s Spirit of forgiveness, redemption and freedom?
Might you encounter Jesus and some of these folks right in your own hometown too?
—Kathy Coffey-Guenther, Ph.D., is senior mission and Ignatian leadership specialist at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI.
Dear Jesus, help me to recognize you in all of your faces and roles and spaces. Help me to let go of my fear which puts a wall between us. Help me to believe that you desire to share every breath, heartbeat, and thought with me.
Thank you for loving me, forgiving me, and teaching me each day. Help me to serve in your work of loving the world, as imperfect as I am today.
—Kathy Coffey-GuentherPlease share the Good Word with your friends!