Daily Reflection – 5/1/2020
He 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? Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.” And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith. (Matthew 13:54-58)
Today’s scripture certainly fulfills the meaning of “ familiarity breeds contempt.”
The people of Nazareth who we would think know Jesus best seem not only nonplussed but downright skeptical, even offended, by his miracles. . Jesus could do no mighty works in their midst because they were closed and disbelieving towards him. So a message which could have changed their lives is lost because they saw only their version of the messenger.
And so it continues 2020 years later. There is a tendency when it comes to the persons who are a familiar part of our lives to not give their words the import they deserve. We undervalue the trustworthiness of a friend, or take for granted the love of a spouse or child, or the guidance and support of a parent. Simply because they are reliably close to us, it seems, we don’t think of them as special.
Sometimes that tendency to take things and people near us for granted grows into something more sinister. Sometimes we feel threatened when people close to us do well, as if their success is a comment on our mediocrity. We can fall into a “zero-sum” culture, where one person’s gain is necessarily another person’s loss.
Why is that? Why do we despise the ordinary, take for granted the reliable, and feel threatened by the success of those nearby?
I think it stems from our basic human insecurity. Not sure of our place in the world, we fall into the insidious habit of establishing our sense of identity and self-worth by comparing ourselves to others. Which means, of course, they only way for us to do “better” is for others to do – or at least seem to us to be – worse.
This is part of why Jesus came, of course: to show us that our identity and sense of self-worth are gifts from God to be received with joy, not prizes to be won in competition with others. Each of us is a unique creation of God. Being unique means there is not another. So why do we worry about comparisons? Why do we indulge in putting others down if they are not “like us”?
Each and every person here on earth has a purpose to fulfill regardless of how they look or how we know them and therefore we should accord them the chance to do just that.
As Christians, we call ourselves followers of Christ then we should emulate Him. God does not look at the external looks of a person but the internal cleanliness and fidelity of a person to become His messenger. You and I have been called to be His messenger and should exemplify that in our thoughts, words and actions.
Prayer of The Day
Lord Jesus, you are the fulfillment of all our hopes and desires. Your Spirit brings us grace, truth, life, and freedom. Fill me with the joy of the gospel and inflame my heart with love and zeal for you and for your will.”
God’s power alone can save us from emptiness and poverty of spirit, from confusion and error, and from the fear of death and hopelessness. The gospel of salvation is “good news” for us today. Do you know the joy and freedom of the gospel?