Jesus has come to Nazareth, his own town, to bring the good news and the healing that he had brought to the other towns of Galilee. But the people did not want to hear His message, one that spoke about the need to change. So they diverted from it by focusing on his person. The people rejected the messenger. They knew all about him! Who did he think he was anyway? After all, was he not just one of them? There was nothing that he could teach them. They were frozen in prejudice and there was no way in which his message could melt the ice in their hearts.
The people of Nazareth thought they knew Jesus well. The image they had of Jesus, which they held on to with great tenacity, became a block to their learning more about him. Too easily we assume that we know someone, when, in reality, we only know one side to them. We can form strong opinions on the basis of past experiences. We can become so attached to these opinions that even when the evidence is there to challenge them, we are completely unmoved. There was more to Jesus than the people of Nazareth could know. Indeed there is always more to every human being than we are aware of. That is true even of those we would claim to know well, such as family members and good friends. We are each made in God’s image. There is a profound mystery to each one of us. We can never fully probe the mystery of another person’s life. We each need to approach everyone with the awareness that there is more here than I can see. It was Jesus’ very ordinariness that made it difficult for the people of Nazareth to see him as he really was, in all his mystery. God was powerfully present to them in and through someone who was as ordinary, in many respects, as they themselves. God continues to come to us today in and through the ordinary, in and through those who are most familiar to us. In the religious sphere there can be a certain fascination with the extraordinary and the unusual. The gospels suggest that the primary way the Lord comes to us is in and through the everyday. This is what we mean by the Incarnation. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The ordinary is shot through with God’s presence.
Association of Catholic Priests
This reflection was kindly selected by Cathy York.