Friday, July 31, 2015

Reflection: Matthew 13:54-58

17th Friday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 13:54-58

This Gospel begins as Jesus returns to his “native place.” When he returns home, he immediately goes to the temple and begins to teach the people. Many were amazed and astonished. After all, many of them had seen Jesus grow up. Yet here he was preaching and teaching! They asked one another: “Where did he get all of this wisdom? How is he able to perform such mighty deeds?” They knew he was a simple carpenter, like his father, Joseph. And they knew his mother and all his siblings. They had great difficulty comprehending all of this!

Rather than being proud of Jesus and his intelligence and wisdom, some of his neighbors and relatives took offense at him. I wonder: were they jealous of Jesus? Did they think that Jesus thought that he was better than they were? Or were they envious of him? By their words and actions, they scorned Jesus! And thus, he was not able to work any great deeds there. Their lack of faith was too deep!

Take a moment and “put on the mind and heart of Jesus.” Imagine the emotions that must have raced through Jesus during this encounter. He was so happy to be home. Jesus loved his hometown. And he loved the people of the town. And yet, they could not accept who he had become. They wanted him to remain as he was when he lived among them. Were they jealous? Or were they intimidated by this side of Jesus? Would they not accept him as he was? Could they not love him as a neighbor and kinsman?

Do we ever shun or judge people who seem to be more than we think they should be? I assume we all do! At times, we have judged another before we are aware of judging them. At these moments, we have a choice: to continue judging them or to choose to let go of our judgment when we realize that we are judging the individual. The choice is always ours to make.

Today may we consciously and deliberately “put on the mind and heart of Jesus.” If we do so, we may find that we are more peaceful, gracious and loving! We also may be more joyful and light-hearted! And we may receive more gifts than we have given!

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