Friday, August 2, 2019
17th Week in
1st Reading: Lev 23:1, 4–11, 15–16, 27, 34–37Gospel: Mt 13:54–58
Jesus went to his hometown and taught the people in their synagogue. They were amazed and said, “Where did he get this wisdom and these special powers? 55 Isn’t he the carpenter’s son? Isn’t Mary his mother and aren’t James, Joseph, Simon and Judas his brothers? 56 Aren’t all his sisters living here? How did he get all this?” 57 And so they took offense at him.Jesus said to them, “The only place where prophets are not welcome is their hometown and in their own family.” And he did not perform many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
Jesus’ neighbors saw so much wisdom in the outcome of his works. But there was one big obstacle to putting their faith in him: he was their neighbor. And so they asked: “Where did he get this wisdom and these special powers?” Any instant admiration they had of him dropped abruptly when they considered his humble beginnings. They asked: “Isn’t Mary his mother and aren’t James, Joseph, Simon and Judas his brothers? How did he get all these?” But now we ask: since when are humble beginnings offensive? By taking offense at Jesus’ humble beginnings, the Jews made a very big issue out of poverty in relation to the identity of the Messiah.
In our culture, humble beginnings are not considered offensive. But we behave like Jesus’ neighbors in the way we condemn people for their dark past. We have little tolerance for sinners even though we may be big time sinners ourselves. Worse, we do not only refuse support but even watch stoically as the sinner deteriorates in isolation. Even when that sinner repents, still we refuse to lift a finger to help him rise up. When this happens to you, remember that what truly matters is God’s willingness to match your firm resolve to rise again with his grace. Social approval has little value before God when the issue pertains to a repentant sinner. In fact, Jesus interpreted rejection positively in favor of the victims when he said: “If the world does not accept you, it is because you do not belong to the world”.
God alone, and not anyone in society, is willing to die for us over and over again. God is a giver of many chances. The fact that the past and the present are separated by the darkness of night is a poetic illustration of God’s intention to give us a new slate if sought for with a firm resolve to abandon evil. To society, a person fallen in the past is a dead person. To Jesus, however, a sinner who falls but rises up once more is closer to God than ever before. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.
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