Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

(Jeremiah 26:1-9; Matthew 13:54-58)

In one of his novels Larry McMurtry tells the story of an antique collector who buys a precious item from the owners of a second-hand store. The owners ask a price many times below the actual value of the object because they do not know what it is really worth. The story reminds us of how the people of Nazareth consider Jesus in today’s gospel

The townspeople where Jesus grew up do not recognize Jesus for who he really is. They think that they know him because they are acquainted with his family. But they do not realize that he is actually the long awaited Messiah whom God has anointed with the Spirit to save Israel. Even his miraculous cures and his authoritative teaching fail to penetrate their obtuseness.

Some of us may be scandalized by the ways that Jesus makes himself present to us. He does not present himself at a grand banquet which costs thousands of dollars to attend. No, he comes at our gathering in his name and makes himself palpable in the Eucharistic hosts and simple wine that we bring to the altar. His teachings promising eternal life are likewise not complicated doctrines that require a Ph.D. to understand. Rather, they contain the straightforward message that we are to love God above all and to love our neighbors as ourselves. We must be careful not to find some other excuse to reject Jesus. No, despite the challenges with which he confronts us, we want to embrace him with all our hearts.