Friday, August 3, 2018
Today, in Mercy, Jesus returns to his hometown to speak with his neighbors in the synagogue. We can imagine the scene – maybe a few buddies who grew up with Jesus, kicking a ball around the dusty streets of Nazareth. Maybe there were neighbor ladies who went to the well daily with Mary., or a few older guys who had exchanged the secrets of woodworking with Joseph.
They might have come to the synagogue expecting little but to hear the old scriptures interpreted in the old way. They could live with that. They had become entrenched in their ordinary lives and, despite its drudgeries, it was comfortable for them.
We can understand these people. In many ways, we might be like them. We might go to church on Sunday and pray everyday, but we don’t want our faith to get too mixed up in our lives. We certainly don’t want some preacher telling us we have to change our comfortable ways because “the Kingdom of God is at hand”.
But that’s what Jesus did that Sabbath in the hometown synagogue.
You see their reaction. “Who the heck is this guy to tell us what to do? Isn’t he merely one of us?”
Their defenses and prejudices bar them from hearing the liberating word of Jesus. He asks them to break open their ordinary lives to find the call to grace hidden within. He doesn’t want them to abandon their lives. He wants them to transform their lives by recognizing the presence of God in the everyday miracles of human life, love, mercy and forgiveness. He challenges them to welcome the same miracles in the poor, the stranger, even the enemy. Now wait a minute!!!!
There may have been some who heard and responded to him that day. But their voices were drowned out by those whose souls had atrophied with comfort, selfishness, ignorance and fear.
We don’t have to go too far to find such scenes today. It may be at a church, a political event, a family conversation, an exchange among friends. These situations may confront us with the stark difference, in ourselves and in others, between truth and opinion, between faith and religion, between justice and law.
In these common situations of our lives, can we find the miracles God is offering us? Can we listen beyond the words with a faith-filled heart and hear God’s Word? Can we allow our thinking to be transformed by the challenging graces of our ordinary lives? Can we ask ourselves sincerely, “If Jesus were here for this moment, what would he want to happen in my heart and actions?”
Music: Word of God Speak by MercyMe