REFLECTION FOR TODAY
July 30, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. They were astonished and said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?” Matt. 13:54
In our gospel reference of today, the people of Nazareth find the teaching of Jesus too much to accept. As a result of this and their lack of faith, could work only a few miracles there. Why would the people of Nazareth not accept his teaching? For many of them, Jesus was just the son of the village carpenter, someone they thought they knew well.
Despite their familiarity with Jesus, they missed the person he really was and so missed out on all He had to offer them. their vision was clouded by what seemed logical to their minds, and they couldn’t get beyond that to ask him to work in their lives.
Isn’t it ironic that those who thought they knew Jesus the best ended up knowing Him the least? If the people had approached Jesus with an open trust as the blind Bartimaeus who cried out to Jesus, refusing to be silenced, Jesus would have reached out to them to open the eyes of their mind to see who he really is.
This experience of our Lord should remind us that it is easy to miss the presence of God all around us. If those who were closest to Jesus did not recognize Him as a man of exceptional virtue and holiness, then how much more might we fail to see the presence of God in the lives of those we encounter every day?
For some reason, perhaps because of our struggles with pride and anger, it is easier to look at the faults of another than at their virtues. It’s easy to be critical of them and to dwell upon their perceived weaknesses and sins. But this Gospel story should encourage us to do all we can to look beyond the surface and to see God present in every life we encounter.
On the most fundamental level, God dwells within each person He has created. Even those who remain in a state of persistent mortal sin are still made in the image of God and reflect God by their very nature. And we must see this. And those who are in a state of grace carry the presence of God, not only within themselves by nature but also through God’s action in their lives.
Every virtue that every person has is there because God is at work in them. And we must work to see this divine activity in their lives. Let us begin by thinking about the people with whom we are closest. When we think about them, what comes to mind? Over the years, we can build habits of dwelling upon others’ faults. And those habits are hard to break. But they can only be broken by intentionally seeking out the presence of God in their lives.
Reflect, today, upon the important mission you have been given to see the presence of God in the lives of those all around you. What if Jesus had grown up in your town? As your neighbor? And though the Incarnate Son of God does not live next door as He did in Nazareth, He does live in each person you encounter every day. Honestly reflect upon how well you see Him and commit yourself to the holy mission of seeing Him more clearly so that you can rejoice in His greatness which is truly manifest all around you.
Lord, You are truly present all around me. You are alive and living in the lives of those whom I encounter every day. Please give me the eyes of faith to see You and a heart that loves You. Help me to overlook the faults and weaknesses of others. Jesus, I trust in You.