8 July 2018: 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ,

The gospel reading of today presents the response of the people of Nazareth to Jesus.  And here we would like to highlight just three things:

  • People’s Amazement:

The people of Nazareth were amazed and astounded at the way Jesus taught.  They marvelled at his wisdom.  Why were they astounded or amazed?  Mark 1:22 says that they were amazed because he “taught them as one having authority.”

Rightly they asked, “From where did this man get all this?”

The source of his authority was his closeness to the Father.  He got all what he said from the father.  In Jn 12:49  Jesus says: “I say only what the Father who sent me has told me to say.”

  • The people failed to recognize the true identity of Jesus:

The people of Nazareth gave importance to the externals, to what was on the periphery.  From the externals they concluded to who Jesus was.  He was a carpenter, the son of Joseph and Mary.

In the first book of Samuel we have the story of Samuel going to the house of Jesse to anoint a new king for the Israelites.  Jesse presented to Samuel each of his sons… and as each came, Samuel thought that he was the one who was to be anointed.  But the Lord told him, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Sam 16:7).

The people of Nazareth failed to look as the Lord looks, and as a result they failed to recognize the true identity of Jesus and rejected him.

  • The response of Jesus to the rejection:

Jesus knew that the people did not accept him, that they rejected him.  He accepted the fact that he was rejected.  And he excused them drawing attention to a common experience saying, ‘No prophet is accepted in his own country…’  He could have responded by being dejected, depressed.  No, he accepted the reality and continued to do good.

The Gospel reading invites us to do three things:

  1. To speak and act from our closeness to God.
  2. To look at people as God looks at them.
  • To accept the setbacks we encounter in life as normal and to continue doing good.

Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to accompany us on our life’s journey.  Help us to pattern our lives on his.  You who live and reign for ever and ever.

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