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Jesus Is Rejected
Wednesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.
Opening Prayer: Jesus, grant me a deep faith in your goodness and merciful love, a faith that breaks through barriers of resistance and believes in your power to work for good in all situations.
- Identification with the Heart of Jesus: The heart of Jesus entered his hometown and desired to teach and heal, to bring about a deeper conversion in all he met. With great sorrow and amazement, Jesus must turn from those he loved and look for those who were open to the gift he wished to give. Nonetheless, we do not know how the story ends. He still offered his life for them to the point of dying on the Cross. Faith may still blossom in the hearts of unbelievers. How often we wish to bring people to a place of greater enlightenment and conversion, but we encounter only resistance, especially from those we most love. Faith is a gift and response that cannot be forced or coerced. Our own sorrow can be united to the Cross of Christ for those who resist God’s grace.
- Recognizing Interior Resistance That Obscures Faith: The people were astonished when they hear Jesus’s teachings and see his miracles. They asked many questions. They could not conceive of Jesus as the Messiah. They couldn’t break out from their preconceived notions of Jesus. How many times do we question the Church or others when a teaching or action does not fit into our understanding? Can we not see beyond the human elements to God’s Providence at work in all things? Let’s speak to the Lord about any interior resistance towards the things of God, whether it be an interior rejection of Church teaching, anger towards persons or the Church, or even jealousy of others’ spiritual goods. Jesus is always listening.
- Jesus’s Tireless Self-Giving: While the passage tells us that Jesus was not able to perform many miracles, he nonetheless did lay his hands on quite a few, curing them of illnesses. Can you see how eager Jesus is to heal us? He looks under every nook and cranny to find just enough faith to pour his healing grace into our lives. That is all it takes–a little bit of faith. I marvel at the wonders he has worked over the course of my life with my little bit of faith. He never tires of giving himself where there is an open door.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, accept the poverty of my faith. It may be weak, but I profess my faith in you. And I thank you for the wonders you have already worked in my life. Continue to work as I take a step towards deeper faith by my frequent reception of the sacraments. Whether I feel your presence or not, I will profess my belief in your healing touch.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will examine an area of the Church’s teaching that I struggle with and resolve to make an act of faith and seek understanding.
For Further Reflection: Fr. Mike Schmitz, “Do You Believe Everything That the Catholic Church Teaches?” https://bulldogcatholic.org/i-believe/.
Jennifer Ristine is a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi who is dedicated to spiritual and faith formation through teaching, conferences, writing, and spiritual direction. While serving in Ancient Magdala she wrote Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala.
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