Many of us do not like to see another person get an elevated status, position, or salary without merit or without going through the regular process. It upsets the balance of power and the status quo. The immigration debate in our country is an aspect of this situation and it causes many volatile reactions. We think like this: “I rose up the ladder the hard way; she should too. I entered through the legal way; he should also.” We want fairness and impartiality and we want to know which rules to follow. It is entirely understandable that Jesus would be rejected by those closest to him because God’s presence in his life upsets the natural order. We do not like holier-than-thou people; it is easy to attack the righteous one, and we want to know that other people will slog it out with us.
Jesus presents a dilemma for the people. God’s breaking into our lives disrupts life as we know it, and we are not prepared for it because we are not comfortable with our own holiness. Sometimes, we hold onto our ordinariness, and even worse, our sinfulness and limitations, and we create for ourselves a poor self-image, which leads to a poor image of God. When we cannot see the honor and beauty within ourselves, we cannot honor the gifts, achievements, or good fortune of others. Many townspeople in Nazareth could not honor this new image of Jesus and they tried to throw him off the hill’s cliff. They could not recognize they were being specially visited by God, and they turned away.
We need to explore our own sense of belonging to God. Jeremiah writes, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I dedicated you.” Until we see ourselves as beloved by God, we will miss the miracles, we will miss the messages of the prophets and saints. We need to see ourselves connected to the wide vision and great spirit of Jesus. We need to love ourselves and to see that his love is patient and kind and rejoices in the good fortune of others. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes, all things, and endures all things.
As a priest and friend, I want you to be gentle with yourselves. I want you to see that you are lovable, especially if you hold a poor self-image, despite what you consider your poor choices, limitations, and failures. Please be good to yourself. I want to help you develop your prayer so that you can know fully how much God honors you and wants to waste time hanging out with you. I want to help expand your prayer styles and practices so you can experience God’s warm, loving gaze upon your face so that you know God holds you in awe, wonder, and admiration. That is the gift I most want to give you as a priest. I want to show you God’s love so that you can rejoice in all the good things God holds out for you. I want you to stand face to face before God so that you can hear God say, “I’m so very proud of you. You are perfect just as you are. You are mine and I honor you profoundly. Nothing will ever separate us because I want you so much. My love never fails.”
Scripture for Daily Mass
let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith.
and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness and storm and a trumpet blast and a voice speaking words such that those who heard begged that no message be further addressed to them.
for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels. Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you also are in the body. Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulterers.
to the territory of the Gerasenes. When he got out of the boat, at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him. The man had been dwelling among the tombs, and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain.
a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea. One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, "My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live."
That is why mighty powers are at work in him." Others were saying, "He is Elijah";
still others, "He is a prophet like any of the prophets." But when Herod learned of it, he said, "It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up."