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The Rejection at Nazareth

  • July 30, 2021 (readings)
  • Friday of the Seventeenth Week of Ordinary Time
  • Jennifer Ristine
  • Matthew 13:54-58

    He came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. They were astonished and said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.” And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith.

    Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, grant me the grace to be your disciple, faithful to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit and sagacious in sharing the good news with those I love.

    Encountering Christ:

    1. Our Native Place: What brought Jesus to his native place? To see his mother? To preach to the people he knew from his childhood days? What was in his heart? Like ourselves, perhaps Jesus was most interested in those he cared for from childhood. He wanted them to discover the light and the truth. But those with whom we are closest are often the hardest ones to talk to about the faith. When our loved ones reject our faith, it can feel like a personal rejection, especially when the faith means so much to us. Let’s ask the Lord for strength and wisdom to share what is important to us with those we most love.

    2. They Took Offense at Him: Imagine the suffering heart of Jesus as his teaching was rejected in his own native place. What is his outward reaction? He did what he could without forcing their hand. He knew that they were free to choose to believe or not believe. His sadness was not directed at himself because he was personally rejected, but at their hard-heartedness. He was sad for them, for what they would miss out on—the gifts that the Father so longed to give them. He was sad that they did not recognize the call to live in the kingdom of God for which they were created. When we find ourselves rejected, we can ask to have a heart like Christ’s and offer our sadness or hurt for the good of those who reject us. 

    3. Mighty Deeds and Faith: The Gospel says that Jesus did not work mighty deeds among them because of their lack of faith. This speaks of the power of faith. While faith is a gift, it is also a human act of opening the door. We welcome the Lord’s action and presence in our lives. With faith, we “give God permission” to do what he sees fit to do. Faith also implies trust that God seeks to give us good things. Faith permits God to perform salutary actions, which heal the deepest wounds and orient us toward the greatest freedom found in union with God through the grace of Jesus Christ.

    Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of faith and for wanting to give me the gift of friendship with you. Help me to welcome this gift daily and share it with others. Give me courage and wisdom so I may also be a channel of your grace to others. 

    Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will be attentive to opportunities to share the good news with others through my words, deeds, and silent prayers.

    For Further Reflection: How to Evangelize Family Members, Karlo Broussard, Catholic Answers.


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