Rejection of Jesus

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The WORD in other words by Fr Simon Boiser SVD – Hamburg, Germany

Friday 17th Week in Ordinary Time

In one of Shakespeare’s plays, Cleopatra became jealous when she heard that her lover Antony had married another woman. She threatened to pluck out the eyes of the messenger. The frightened envoy hastily replied, “Gracious madam, I had to bring the news, I did not make the match.” Cleopatra’s emotional response is a typical act of blaming the bearer of bad news.

Similarly, the people from Jesus’ hometown could not bring themselves to believe in Jesus’ message of the Kingdom of God. They could not see beyond the man, whom they thought they already “knew”. They rejected Jesus and missed his message because they were too busy looking for mistakes.

Jesus was not the first prophet who received such treatment. The prophet Jeremiah was also rejected in his hometown, even by his own family. Unbelief blinds people to the truth, just as the people of Nazareth missed the Messiah. We cannot see God’s work because of unbelief. If we expect to see God’s mighty work, we have to look with the eyes of faith.

Rejection does not mean we are not good enough; it only means the other person has failed to notice what we have to offer. A famous artist once said, “If you live from people’s acceptance, you will die from their rejection.”

Rejection is God’s way of saying that we might be going in the wrong direction and in the company of the wrong people. Every time we are rejected, we move on and go to the next person or place. Jesus did not reject himself when he was rejected. Rejection does not mean failure. Failure is giving up. Jesus went on.

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