Vol: 42, No.39 14TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME ( B) July 05 2015  
 
LITURGY AND LIFE

Jesus returned to his hometown, Nazareth, where he had grown up as a child and young man. And on the Sabbath day he went to the synagogue and taught. He spoke with such wisdom that the villagers were shocked and amazed: Where did this man get such wisdom? They were puzzled. He was a lad whom they knew too well. He could not have any extraordinary powers. To be rejected by one’s own people is a painful experience. Today’s Gospel tells us how Jesus went through such a pain. When our efforts to do good meet with scorn and rejection, it is only natural for anyone to be disappointed and pained. So was Jesus when he came to Nazareth. He did not go there for a home visit but to bring the message of Salvation to his own village people.
He was rejected not for something wrong he said or did, but because the wisdom of his words was far more than what his listeners could ever expect from the ‘carpenter’s son’ from their own neighbourhood. Not knowing the source of Jesus’ wisdom the people set out to review the known facts about him—his parents, kith and kin, the profession he may have been trained in, etc… But all these would not explain the amazing wisdom Jesus exuded. They preferred to dwell on who Jesus was rather than the message he delivered. They preferred to have with them the carpenter’s son rather than a prophet who confronted them. In short, familiarity, envy and jealousy prevented them from conceding that this son of their soil was the Messiah himself in person. So they rejected him and his message.
As a human being Jesus was certainly affected by the way people reacted to him. His ministry in his own village was a total failure. Yet with no complaint or bitterness he withdrew. How bad it was for the people of Nazareth, and how sad!

 

They just lost opportunities for miracles in their midst. Even God can be disabled by our distrust and lack of faith. In fact, the lack of faith and the unwelcome attitude caused by prejudice and ignorance of his own folk limited Jesus’ ministry in his hometown. Yet this very failure and defeat only revealed the power of God. Just as the cross of Jesus became the most striking symbol of a tragedy turning into triumph, the rejection at Nazareth too had a symbolic value—God’s Son showing his solidarity with the rejected ones of this world and sharing their lot.
Jesus teaches us not only how to cope with our own weaknesses and failures but even how to be content with them. It is not at all easy to accept our weak points and acknowledge our failures without damage to our self-esteem. It takes great maturity and a firm faith in a God who ‘writes straight with crooked lines’, to be content with our weak points. Jesus rejected points beyond himself, beyond the brokenness of Jesus to the glory of the resurrection.
This is what Paul too came to learn from his personal experience. His weaknesses were no problem for God. He discovered through his own limitations and weaknesses that God’s grace did work all the more powerfully through human frailty. That explains how he dared to boast of his weakness.
We may draw a couple of practical conclusions: 1) God’s message can come to us from very ordinary people in our midst. But if by our prejudice we fail to recognize and accept them we will only stand to lose. 2) When we may meet with rejection and failure in our endeavour to do good we need not lose heart but trust in the power of God that can accomplish his design through our failures.

– AK
July 2015 READINGS OF THE WEEK Psalter Week 2
06 Mon (G) St Maria Goretti, Gen 28:10-22/ Ps 91:1-4,14-15/ Mt 9:18-26
07 Tue (G) Gen 32:23-33/ Ps 17:1-3,6-8,15/ Mt 9:32-38
08 Wed (G) Gen 41:55-57; 42:5-7,17-24/ Ps 33:2-3,10-11,18-19/ Mt 10:1-7
09 Thu (G) Gen 44:18-21,23-29; 45:1-5/ Ps 105:16-17,18-21/ Mt 10:7-15
10 Fri (G) Gen 46:1-7,28-30/ Ps 37:3-4,18-19,27-28,39-40/ Mt 10:16-23
11 Sat (W) St Benedict, (World Population Day)
Gen 49:29-32; 50:15-26/ Ps 105: 1-4,6-7/ Mt 10:24-33
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