“Who is he but the carpenter, the son of Mary a potter!”


    

 

There are some people who are listened to, not because of what they say, but because of who they are – the mayor, a business leader or a celebrity for example. But are they always right? Sometimes we are surprised when a member of our family – perhaps a child – comes out with something that makes a lot of sense to us. Wisdom can be found in unexpected places. In today’s gospel we hear the skepticism of Jesus’ neighbors in His home town when they hear Him speak, “Where did the man get all this?” they ask. Jesus and His disciples return to where He is known by His family relationships and Jesus does the religiously wrong thing though. He is teaching in the synagogue, on the Sabbath, but the town’s folk need to see His diplomas, His credentials for getting up there like that. “Who does he think he is!” That is the message, Jesus does know Who He is and He does what He knows Himself to be. The listeners to Him think they know Him, because they know from where He comes, that is from right there among them. Jesus is from there and way beyond. He has come to be known as coming to every where from everywhere. They are amazed and “They took offense at Him”.  They were relying on their knowledge and He was inviting them to go beyond what they did know into the relationship of faith to which He was inviting them.

The inhabitants of Nazareth, especially Jesus’ relatives, felt skeptic about Him. Where did He get all this knowledge? So they did not put any faith in Him! Without an environment of faith, Jesus refused to perform miracles for their entertainment, as though He were a vaudeville magician. They were looking for a show, while Jesus wanted them to listen and believe in His Word. To act otherwise would be a betrayal of the power He shared with the Father.

Jesus’ experience of rejection by His countrymen would foreshadow the events that would take place in Jerusalem at the end of His ministry. Jesus would experience betrayal by one apostle and denial by another. He would be mocked by His own people who would cry out for His crucifixion. All this He would endure so that we might have life and have it to the full. Jesus reaches out in love, forgiveness, and mercy to those who hate, attack, reject, dishonor, and distress Him. Sometimes these people even repent. As did some of Jesus’ relatives, go into the upper room and receive a new Pentecost.  If you have rejected Jesus, there is hope for you no matter what you have done – if you only repent. If you have been rejected with Jesus, there is hope, for the Lord is changing the hardest hearts.

We are never alone in our sufferings. Should we ever experience the anguish of being ridiculed or put down by family or friends, we are never alone. The Lord Jesus stands with us in our times of trial, giving us the grace we need to bear patiently with our suffering, never stooping to the same level as those who would cause us pain. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ bring us forbearance and courage as we carry our crosses.

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