Today’s Gospel: Luke 4:24-30
Jesus, being human like us, wants so much to be loved and accepted. He will not, however, change who he truly is and let others accept less of himself to gain that love and acceptance. How it must have sadden him that those who knew him the most, knew him the least. They could not get over the fact that this was Joseph’s son, a simple carpenter.
“Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of slander against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven; they persecuted the prophets before you in the very same way” (Mat 5:11). This blessing that Jesus utter upon us applied not only to Elijah and Elisha, two prophets whose stories he shares in today’s Gospel, but also to himself. His own kinsmen and neighbors treated him thus.
As sad as I feel for Jesus, I feel sadder for the people of Nazareth. The results of their actions lead to a most distressing repercussion: “passing through their midst, he went away.”
It made me think, does Jesus ever pass through my midst. I suppose there are times when I am not expecting him to appear as he does, and I do not recognize him. Maybe he was that man who always stands at the busy intersection holding the “Will work for food” sign. Maybe he was my child today who wanted me to stop doing my chores long enough to read a book or 2 or 3 to him. Maybe he was the pastor who asked if I could teach the Baptism classes for the parish. Maybe. That brief moment of peace and quiet that I let pass, maybe that was him calling me, wanting me to stop and chat with him for a little while. Maybe.
Do I compromise who I am to gain what I suppose to be love and acceptance?
Do I recognize Jesus in my midst, even when he appears in forms I am not expecting?
Jesus, do not pass by me. Stay with me. Strengthen me so that when people, especially those whom I love, revile me or mistreat me because of my love for and devotion to you, I may rejoice at being treated just like you. Grant me the grace to never miss an opportunity to serve you through others. Amen.
Copyright 2014 Kelly Guest