Daily Readings Reflection for 7/31/09

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Reflection on the Daily Readings for 7/31/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings


Scripture: Friday of seventeenth week. Leviticus 23:1.4-11. 15-16.27,
34-32. Psalm 81:3-4,5-6,10-11. Matthew 13:54-58. Lectionary # 405:

We all have heard the expression, ” He or she is too much for us.” It is
an ageless expression that even is found in today’s Gospel as we hear that
the people of Nazareth found their own hometown boy Jesus too much for
them. While narrating this incident in the life of Jesus, Matthew returns
to what he has already shared with us in the Infancy Narrative of chapter
one and two. Mary and Joseph are known in Nazareth as the parents of
Jesus. He is lawfully theirs as Matthew showed us in chapter one verse
sixteen and verses eighteen through twenty-five. This Jesus is virgin born
and is described as Emmanuel, that is, God present among us. But that is
too much for the townspeople and often too much for us. Yet, they do
acknowledge that when he reads the scroll in the synagogue he makes sense
of it and speaks as a wise person. Yet, he is still too much. Familiarity
breeds contempt and it has no favorites; even Jesus was not exempt from
this human blemish.

We may wish to see where Matthew got this incident. It is easily found if
we turn to the first Gospel written, that of Mark. It is more desciptive
there and has the fresh air smell of the Galilean hills where the first
traditions about Jesus were formed and then collected and finally put into
a Gospel. Mark was the self-starter and the initiator of this form of
proclamation about the Good News of Jesus. He probably heard Peter speak
about the master and his original followers. It is worthwhile looking at
Mark 6:1-6 for making this comparison with what Matthew tells us in today’s
reading.

Matthew, like the other Evangelists is also a budding theologian. He
changes what Mark has handed down and “corrects” it. Isn’t it wonderful
that there are so many differences in the way the four evangelists tell the
same story of Jesus but from their own look at the sources of oral
traditions and from the respective theological concerns for their readers
of that time. We are privileged to have all of them within our grasp and
continue to learn so much new about how they theologized about the
revelation, the proclamation, and the redeeming love of Jesus.

Mark says that Jesus could NOT do a miracle there among his own people.
Matthew says, “And he did not work many miracles there because of their
lack of faith.” (Matthew 13:58 to be compared with Mark 6:6).

May we be able to recognize the wisdom of Jesus, his legitimacy from the
lineage of David and thus a rightful claimant to the messiahship. Let us
not become so “familiar” in what we think we know about Jesus as the folks
from Nazareth were. Perhaps, reading Luke’s conclusion of the Infancy
Narrative in chapter 2:52 will help us to respect who he is and love him
all the more because of his own growth in wisdom and knowledge before God
and humans. Amen.

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