REFLECTION FOR TODAY
July 4, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” So, he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. Mk. 6:4-6
We can imagine the rejection Jesus had to face and receive from his own kin in his own town of Nazareth. This encounter was disappointing. His people were amazed at His wisdom and the mighty deeds He performed and “took offense at Him.” They took offense because they didn’t understand how someone whom they knew well, could be so special. They allowed their closeness and familiarity with Jesus to cloud their ability to have faith in Him and to rejoice in His greatness.
The story of Jesus’ rejection by his own kin in his own town is a story that we can identify with because it is a story that has happened to most of us. We might have experienced the pain of rejection caused by hurts, wounds, betrayal, divorce, abandonment, violated trust, trauma, neglect, or abuse in its various forms.
What about rejection by those closest to us? Often our friends, families, or childhood companions fail to listen to, and refuse to accept, the words of grace, love and encouragement that we offer to them, because they are so familiar with us, that they are unable to see us as God’s appointed instruments, the agents of God’s healing and saving grace.
On the other hand, how often do we discount God’s agents through prejudice? How often do we fail to see God’s image in them because of our own hardheartedness? We must realize that God’s power is always available to transform even the people we see as most unlikely.
The rejection Jesus encountered reveals our tendency to look at those closest to us without the eyes of faith. Though Jesus was falsely judged, we can, at times, enter into judgment of those close to us on account of their sins or even our false perception of their good actions. Are you able to see others in the light of truth? Are you also able to look beyond the weakness and sins of others and see the presence and grace of God alive in their lives? Are you able to see their goodness and allow God to speak to you through those closest to you? This can be more of a struggle than we may realize.
If it happened to Jesus, it would happen in our families too. The lesson we should learn from this is to identify the temptation to see only the negative in the lives of those closest to us. If we can overcome that temptation, we will be able to focus in on the presence of God alive in their lives. This should be the first and primary thing we seek to discover each and every day.
Reflect, today, upon how well you do see God present in those closest to you. If you find you struggle with that, see it as a temptation you are called to overcome. Discovering the presence of God alive in those around you will help you to grow in love of them and love of God.
Lord, help me to see You in the lives of those closest to me. Help me to rejoice in Your presence and to grow in love of others and in love of You as I see You at work in their lives. Jesus, I trust in You.