A Reflection on the Daily Gospel by Fr. Jim Livingstone
Friday, July 31, 2020
“When Jesus had finished these parables, he left that place, and came to his home town, where he taught the people in their synagogue. In amazement they asked, ‘Where does he get this wisdom from, and these miraculous powers?” Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary, his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters here with us? Where does he get all this from? So they turned against him. Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet never lacks honour, except in his home town and in his own family.’ And he did not do many miracles there, such was their want of faith.
It was the custom for Jesus when he returned to his home town to go to the synagogue each week during the Sabbath. When his turn came to read from the Scriptures his home town folks listened with great attention because on this occasion they had heard about the miracles he had performed in other towns. What sign would he do in his home town. Jesus startled them with a seeming rebuke that no prophet or servant of God can receive honor among his own people. The people were offended and refused to listen to what he had to say. They despised his preaching because he was a carpenter, from the working class, a mere man untrained by religious scholars. They despised him because of his family background. After all Joseph was a simple tradesman and Mary his mother had no social distinctions.
How easy it is for us to treat others with contempt. Jesus could do no mighty works in his hometown because the people who were familiar to him were close-minded and despised his claim to speak and act in the name of God. When people come together to hate and refuse to understand others who are different than themselves, then they will see no other point of view than their own and they will refuse to love and accept others.
The Lord Jesus offers us freedom from sin, prejudice, contempt and fear. His love and grace sets us free to love others with the same grace and mercy which he has shown to us. Do you know the joy and freedom which Christ’s love brings to our hearts?
Are you critical towards others, especially those who are close to you? The most severe critics are often people very familiar to us, a family member, a neighbor, a co-worker, or a person we see on a regular basis.