The rejection of Jesus in Nazareth
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - July 8, 2018 - 12:00am

We are now on the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time and today’s gospel reading speaks about the visit of our Lord Jesus to his own hometown in Nazareth where most of its inhabitants are his neighbors and know his family. As the Lord himself pointed out, “No prophet is accepted in his own hometown, which is what this gospel story is all about. You can read today’s gospel in your bibles on Mark 6: 1-6

“6 Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. 2 And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this, which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! 3 Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him.

“4 But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” 5 Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.”

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You must remember what was written in the Bible when our Lord Jesus was 12 when during their visit to Jerusalem, Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary lost him when they took the caravan back to Jerusalem. They had travelled for a day when they had to return to Jerusalem to find Jesus and three days later they found their son with the doctors of the law who found Jesus to be a remarkable young boy. Remember the young Jesus was surrounded by scholars of the law and he impressed them with his knowledge.

As we read in Luke 2: 51-52, “And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.” After this, nothing is written about the Lord Jesus until he appears in today’s gospel reading.

Of course we can assume that since Jesus was obedient to his parents, he must have helped St. Joseph in his craft as a carpenter making chairs, tables, or doors for the community in Nazareth, which was then a very small village, where everyone knew each other. When the Nazoreans who were neighbors of our Lord went to the synagogue it was Jesus who preached to them using the Torah, the Lord did so with a special kind of authority, which his own neighbors could not fathom since they knew that this was the son of Joseph the carpenter.

Because the folks in Nazareth rejected the Lord Jesus this is why Jesus said: “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” In a similar way, the Catholic Church does not assign a priest to become the parish priest in his own place because the people may only reject the person.

Mind you, 2,000 years ago, our Lord Jesus was rejected in his own place in Nazareth. Then the entire Jewish people also rejected him and even had him crucified. But centuries later the Roman Empire accepted Christianity as its official religion and it became prevalent in most of Europe where you can see magnificent cathedrals like the Notre Dame in Paris, France. But the rejection of Christianity has become prevalent in most of Europe today, where in Notre Dame; you would see more tourists than worshippers inside the cathedral.

When our President Rodrigo Duterte blasphemed God, this was a kind of rejection of our Lord, which continues 2,000 years later. But life is short and in the end, it is God who wins so if you reject God today, he will reject you when your time to see him comes.

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

NAZARETH
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