February 3, 2021 (readings)
- Wednesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
- Megan Naumovski
He departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.
Opening Prayer: Lord I come before you today to place my heart in your gentle and merciful hands. I know you need my faith in order to make this time with you fruitful for my spiritual life. I invite the Holy Spirit to increase my belief in all the good you can do in my life.
1. Seeing Christ: The Jews from Jesus’s neighborhood presumed they knew him and, as a result, they failed to perceive any of his divine reality. Prejudice, presumption, or familiarity can blind us too from seeing that Jesus is in everyone. “We do not have to discover in which of several people Christ is to be found; we must look for him in them all. And not in an experimental spirit, to discover whether he is in them . . . but with the absolute certainty that he is. . . . Christ does not choose to be known through outward appearances—even the appearance of virtue” (Caryll Houslander, The Reed of God).
2. No Mighty Deeds: It is hard to imagine the Creator of the heavens and earth would be hindered by anything if he wanted to execute his might. We see here that Our Lord values us so completely that he gives us the freedom to believe (or not believe) in his love for us. We are so free that our lack of belief–therefore our lack of permission–in him hinders the completion of good deeds for us. Yet, freedom is love. Nothing forced or kept is truly loved. God knew that when he left the final decision to us. Will we allow Christ to exercise his might in our lives? He waits for us to open ourselves up to him just a little further today.
3. He Was Amazed: We know that Jesus raised the dead, walked on water, and made a tiny bit of food enough to feed the multitudes, so we could assume there is little that would amaze him. But here we read Jesus was amazed at the lack of faith of the people in his hometown. Amazed! God has so much to give to us, but when we remain stubborn and stuck in our disbelief he is thwarted. We can pray, therefore, for God to move our heart as the centurion did: “Lord, help my unbelief!” Faith is a gift from God, and we must ask for it and protect it. We should never be amazed when we falter, but we should amaze ourselves if we don’t ask for help when we fall.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, how often I forget to intercept the thoughts that tell me you are not divine or that you cannot help me. I must reject those thoughts that are not from you and actively seek your protection and help throughout my day, so as never to “amaze” you with my unbelief.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will set a timer on my phone to ring every hour for the next nine hours, and I will pray “Jesus, increase my faith” each time the alarm rings.
For Further Reflection: Reflect and pray with the words from Matthew 8:5-13.
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