JULY 7, 2024 GOSPEL REFLECTION

Familiarity breeds contempt, or so the saying goes. Whenever an activity, job, or thing becomes especially routine in our lives, it is easy to treat said activity, job, or thing with less dignity and respect than they deserve. It’s how bad habits develop. It’s the reason that coaches constantly emphasize fundamental skills to their players in various sports. When we get used to things, we can easily stop thinking seriously about them. How much worse when this happens in relationship and in regard to persons! “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place…” This proverb quoted by our Lord in the Gospel today is a reminder that familiarity can breed contempt even in our human relationships. 

And so Jesus returns to Nazareth to proclaim the Gospel in his hometown. He has been teaching and preaching in many places, but now he returns to the people who have known Him for years, the people who know His family, His home, His background. The son of a carpenter doesn’t become a great teacher. The guy from the small backwater town doesn’t suddenly become the wisest of men. The skepticism of townsfolk is understandable. We’re always happy to see a local boy make good, but when the local boy comes home, we remember less of the good he’s made, and more of the old stories of how he was as a kid, and what his family is still like. We don’t make much room in our minds or hearts for the possibility of growth and change. Even less so when the local boy comes proclaiming a Gospel of repentance, calling us to change our lives, and challenging our conception of the most fundamental, most important truths about our understanding of God. Come home and demonstrate a new construction method – fine. Come home and tell me that the way I worship God and live the covenant God made with my ancestors…pump the breaks, big fella. 

This familiarity, though, does not prevent Jesus from going to Nazareth.. He does not hesitate to proclaim the Good News in its fullness to the people of his village. While He is amazed at their lack of faith, He does not shy away from the mission. He still heals a few of the sick who are able to look beyond their familiarity. With that in mind, we might see a few pointers for our own walk with the Lord.

  1. Jesus wants to show up in our lives, no matter how familiar we may be with His grace and mercy. We need a spiritual routine, but it is easy for this routine to be something so familiar that we get bored. Holiness of life is found not only in the great moments, but also in the routine. We should ask for the grace of open hearts, so that even the routine and familiar aspects of our relationship with God retain their freshness.
  2. Evangelizing is no easy task, especially when it is directed at family and friends who have known us for years. We will need humility, honesty, and integrity. Most of all, we need to be prepared for the possibility that the people we love and cherish most might not be especially open to us sharing the Gospel with them. Like Jesus, we should do it anyway, with great love in our hearts.
  3. Are we open to the growth and change that takes place in the hearts, minds, and lives of the people I know? Or are we attached to a particular image of how a person is? Today is a good day to ask God to soften our hearts, that we might receive His grace even through the people most familiar to us.
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CATECHESIS

At the National Eucharistic Congress, Decided Excellence Catholic Media - with the help of Bishop William Waltersheid - will be presenting "Beautiful Revelation: The Eucharistic Timeline". Throughout human history, God has left repeated proof of His presence in the Eucharist and that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our Salvation. God has given us the wisdom. Have you taken the time to understand? Read this spiritual journey through time to examine critical moments that God uses to reveal the truth of the Body of Christ.

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