July 8th, the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
One of the things we know about the Incarnation (namely that God stepped in to the human story, and assumed a human nature) was that it made it possible for HIm to completely enter the human experience. In reverse order, of course, it enables us to identify with the awesome reality that through Jesus we can be one with God. St. Paul would describe that “I live now, not I, but Christ lives in me”.
If Jesus experiences everything human other than sin, today’s gospel demonstrates an awesome but painful sharing in the human spirit. Jesus is rejected in His home town! He comes back to Nazareth the talk of Galilee. Crowds followed Him elsewhere, but not in the hometown. His fellow villagers had heard the great stories of His power and miracles, but this was the kid that carried those 2×4′s from Joseph’s workshop. This was the kid that they remembered seeing carrying those 2×4′s down the street to build a new house. It was just too much for them. Therefore, in the absence of faith, our Lord chose to do virtually nothing among His relatives and in his home town beyond a few minor good deeds.
Two tremendous facts jump out at us from this excerpt. First, how a strong faith makes God’s actions within our lives more easily accomplished. Secondly, and perhaps more striking in a day to day basis, is the need to be able to handle rejection. We have all had it. We know its pain, but we use the example of Jesus to keep moving forward. It’s easy to move forward effectively in the face of adulation and praise, but an awesome challenge in the face of disbelief and rejection. Our Lord has given us the example.