Date: Sunday, July 08, 2018
We would not expect a homecoming like this when Jesus returns to his native place. He is recognized as the carpenter, the son of Mary, with brothers and sisters. “Brothers and sisters” in Aramaic is a Semitic idiom that refers to the extended families of Joseph and Mary including cousins, nephews, nieces, half brothers and half sisters. They are astonished at his teaching in the synagogue yet take offense at his words. They remember the boy Jesus but take offense at the adult Jesus who comes to them on mission to announce the Kingdom of God. Like Israel in Exile they are “hard of face and obstinate of heart” to Ezekiel, the prophet of God. Like Saul, before God’s revelation to him and his conversion, they are stubborn in their belief.
St. Paul in his letter to Corinthians writes of begging the Lord, three times to remove the thorn in his flesh. He comes to know the presence of the Lord in weakness. Paul writes that the Lord says to him: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”
Would we welcome of Jesus be any differently than his extended family and neighbors in Nazareth? We know many wonderful things about Jesus but do we truly “know” Jesus in the depth of his love for us, in his goodness, in his closeness and oneness with God. Do we know Jesus who is with us as we pray for the rescue of boys trapped in a cave in Thailand? Do we know Jesus who has been with Dave and Marge throughout 50 years of marriage in good time and bad? Will we come to know Jesus like people beginning Mission tonight?
We are the extended family of Jesus, his friends and disciples. We pray and sing: “To know him more deeply, to love him more dearly and to follow him more clearly – day by day.”