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This Weekend's Gospel Meditation

Jul 6, 2018

July 8, 2018 - Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

If you have been closely following the Sunday readings, today's Gospel could sound a bit like a broken record. Four weeks ago, the Gospel told of Jesus visiting his home of Nazareth and being poorly received by his family members. Jesus had attracted a large crowd as he preached, and his concerned relatives came to bring him home. Jesus, they thought, was out of his league.

Today Jesus takes things further. He returns to Nazareth. Rather than preaching from his house, he enters the synagogue. He speaks eloquently. The listeners acknowledge that "wisdom has been given him" and recognize the "mighty deeds wrought by his hands," but it is too much for them to bear. "Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary?" The listeners know his whole clan, his male and female relatives. Jesus as carpenter was acceptable. Even Jesus as fringe preacher was interesting enough to draw a crowd. But Jesus as authoritative teacher is too much. "They took offense at him."

As Christians, we have known the truth of Jesus' identity since we were first introduced to him. He is fully human and fully divine. He is the second person of the Trinity. It could be easy to look down on these 1st century listeners for their lack of faith. But where do we expect to learn our own lessons? The more we age, the easier it is to believe we understand the world and how it works. We have experience with people, with the Church, with politics, and with the affairs of daily living. We have developed criteria for first impressions. We categorize. Today we remember that the Christian life requires humility. Jesus' listeners have an expectation of how things should be, and their lack of faith causes doubt in others. "He was not able to perform any mighty deeds there." Do your assumptions limit your perspective? Who can you learn from that you did not expect?

Courtesy of Liturgical Publications


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