Jesus rejected by town mates

Word Alive–Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD July 4, 2021 / 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

There’s a saying that goes, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” In today’s gospel, this saying applies to Jesus when he returned to his hometown and taught in the synagogue. His town mates could not accept him because he was too familiar to them.

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“How can he claim to be a teacher and prophet when we know his relatives?” they questioned. “Isn’t he the carpenter’s son? Where did He get all his knowledge?” (Mk 6,2).

Sensing his audience’s negative attitude, Jesus said: “No prophet is accepted in his own country” (6,4). The Scripture relates further, “He could work no miracles there. He was astonished by their lack of faith” (6,6).

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We Filipinos may not reject Jesus outright since we are generally religious, prayerful and God-fearing.

However, there are times and instances when we doubt or even lose our faith in God. A friend couple of mine in their sixties some months ago succumbed to the coronavirus one after the other. The children were devastated. One of them lamented, saying, “I cannot understand why God took away our two parents!”

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When I was vacationing in San Francisco, California, I met a devout Filipina lady who was very active in her parish. Sadly, she was diagnosed of having an advanced cancer. She could not accept that God would allow it to happen since she was very devout and saintly. Her friends would visit her in the evening and prayed with her. But when the pain became unbearable, she stopped praying and “lost” her faith altogether. All I could do was to pray for forgiveness, saying, “Lord, you know very well the excruciating pain that caused the loss of her mental and psychological disposition. Lord, be merciful to her.”

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We reject Christ, too, when we do not follow his teachings especially those that are hard to swallow. For instance, some of us find it hard to forgive and let go of our feelings of hatred and revenge. Forgiveness is a very important command of the Lord. “If you do not forgive your brother or sister who has wronged you, your Heavenly Father will not forgive you either” (Mt. 18,35).

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For officials of the Bureau of Customs, BIR or some politicians, Christ’s teaching on honesty may be very hard to follow. But a Christian faith and strong conviction should make them resist the temptation to give in. “If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mk 9,34). How many of our public servants would really practice this?

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When the Jews could not understand Jesus’ offering his Body and Blood as food for the soul, they turned their back on him and stopped following him. They said cynically, “What? Giving his Body and Blood for food and drink? That’s cannibalism!”

Jesus, turned to his disciples and said, “Do you also want to go? Professing his unswerving faith, Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life and we have come to believe that You are the Son of God” (Jn 6,70).

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Unlike the towns mate of the Lord who rejected him, let’s pray for strong, resilient faith especially in moments when we find his will and teachings hard to swallow.

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LAFF WITH GOD. When a couple is newly married, the word ASAWA (spouse) is still complete. But as the years go by, the letters disappear one by one. After a couple of years, the A vanishes and what have you”? ‘Sawa,’ (fed up). Then after a couple more years, the S disappears and you have ‘Awa’ (pity), and after some more years, the A fades off, too; what remains? ‘Wa’! (no more)—no more love or worse, no more spouse! A case of “familiarity breeds contempt”?

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Try Jesus. If you don’t like Him, the devil will always take you back.

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You may party in Hell, but you will be the barbeque!

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SVD FAMILY TV MASS–is aired on TV5 One Sport Channel 59, Free TV Ch. 41 at 6-7 a.m. every Sunday and anytime at “MCFI SVD Media” Account on YouTube and Facebook Page. Priest presider: FR. BEL SAN LUIS, SVD.

“The Family That Prays Together Stays Together”

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