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The Rejection at Nazareth
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
He 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 Joses 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: Lord Jesus, I believe in you! Increase my faith! Grant me a vision that marvels at the wonders you work among us.
- The Bigger Picture: Jesus really stretches and challenges us to see beyond the merely human realm. There is more to this universe than meets the eye, namely God’s amazing grace at work everywhere and at every time. We don’t need great faith for that. Even scientists point to the amazing universe’s design or the intricate workings of the human person. How easily we lose sight of the bigger picture—of who God is and who we are. We judge everything from our limited perspective, just as the townsfolk of Nazareth judged this “once little and seemingly insignificant boy” from their hometown. How often do we remain shortsighted about God’s great creation, particularly the human persons in our midst?
- He Cured a Few Sick People: In this passage we often focus on the people’s lack of faith as the reason there were no miracles in Nazareth. But upon a second reading, the passage says he cured a few sick people. This calls us to recognize the good heart of Jesus. Perhaps he lingered for a while to give anyone a chance to believe in him. Perhaps only a handful approached him, but he cured them nonetheless, personally, just for them. Just as God vowed not to destroy Sodom if there were but a handful of righteous people there, Jesus comes for just the few. Those who have faith may be the quiet, forgotten, and unnamed ones, but they are also the blessed ones!
- Jesus Was Amazed at Their Lack of Faith: What does it take to amaze Jesus? A refusal of the obvious—he came to heal and bring salvation, yet many refused the gift. The gift that their ancestors prayed for century after century was rejected when it came knocking at the door. This calls us to a sincere examination of conscience. How often do we pass up Jesus’s gifts due to our lack of faith, or simply a meager, unactivated life of faith? Let’s give Jesus something else to be amazed at—our response to his gifts with eager, open hearts, ready to be healed of whatever ails us.
Conversing with Christ: Come Lord Jesus, come into my abode and heal whatever needs healing in my life. Help me to see where my faith is weak and needs to be exercised. I want to please you and accept your gifts with gratitude.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will do a sincere examination of conscience to see where my faith needs to be strengthened, be it in the Eucharist, in your indwelling in my soul, or in your presence in my domestic church.
For Further Reflection: Have You Mastered the Basics of Your Faith? Father Mike Schmitz.
Written by Jennifer Ristine.
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