The rejection of our Lord Jesus in Nazareth

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Freeman) - January 30, 2016 - 9:00am

It’s the fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time…. but for us in Cebu, this whole week while we are hosting the 51st Eucharistic Congress, it has been to my mind a very blessed week and a great time to call ourselves as Catholics! Last Friday’s Holy Mass at the Provincial Capitol grounds, followed by a procession of the Blessed Sacrament from the Capitol to Plaza Independencia was perhaps the biggest procession Cebu City has ever seen. It was historic!

My thoughts in watching the events inside the IEC Pavilion and the procession last Friday… it feels like you are up on a hill on a very dark night and watching all the stars above you where you feel so insignificant with the billions of stars out there. I felt the same way looking at the millions of Catholics passing me by after I walked from the Capitol to the Skywalk in Fuente Osmeña so I could get a better view of the multitude of people pass by me. I really felt I was totally insignificant. Yes it is a very humbling experience.

So let’s go to our gospel reading today, which is perhaps the best gospel reading for us who joined the IEC as it is about the rejection of our Lord Jesus Christ by his own peers in Nazareth. It is a continuation of last Sunday’s Gospel reading. You can read it in Luke 4:21-30.

“21 Jesus began speaking in the synagogue, saying: “Today, this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”22 And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”  23 He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb, ‘Physician, cure yourself, ‘ and say, ‘Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.”

 24 And he said, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. 25 Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. 26 It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. 27 Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”

28 When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. 29 They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. 30 But he passed through the midst of them and went away.”

*  *  *

If you have not read the part of the Old Testament when our Lord Jesus told his fellow Nazoreans about the widow in Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian and asked why they were so furious about why our Lord told that story to them? It is because while they all marveled at the gracious words and amazed at his wisdom… but they could not fathom when told the truth that the Israelites were not healed or cured except Naaman the Syrian because of their lack of faith.

Sure the Nazoreans recognized our Lord Jesus as the son of Joseph. In Matthew 13: 54-56 the Nazoreans asked the question, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? They asked, ‘Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary? Where then did this man get all these things?” They clearly identified Jesus as one of their own… and the Lord clearly said to them, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.”

The unbelief of the people from Nazareth was very telling because the Evangelist St. Mark wrote down in his gospel on Mark 6: 5-6, “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith.” So his fellow Nazoreans rejected our Lord Jesus Christ… and much later, the rest of the Jews rejected the Lord, flogged and crucified him. But the Gentiles embraced Christianity and this includes us here in the Philippines.

Today is the final mass to be held at the South Road Properties beside the SM Seaside… the site of the thanksgiving mass after the canonization of San Pedro Calungsod three years ago. If we go by the Holy Mass held at the footsteps of the Cebu Provincial Capitol and the procession that started from there down to Plaza Independencia were we saw at least two million people join that historic procession… all praying the Holy Rosary and singing praises to our Lord Jesus Christ, we can expect millions to join the mass.

In the year 2021, the Philippines will be celebrating 500-years as a Christian nation… and focus will once more is in Cebu. If you ask me…our hosting of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress has shown to us Filipinos and to our foreign guests and the Catholics throughout the world who saw videos and photos of the IEC, it is that; we Filipinos do have faith.

*  *  *

For email responses to this article, write to vsbobita@mozcom.com or vsbobita@gmail.com. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with