Jer 1:4-5,17-19; 1Cor 12:31-13:13 (or 13:4-13); Luke 4:21-30
Someone asked before I became priest, “’Supposed you express interest in some but get snubbed or rejected, what are you going to do?” “So what? Nothing is lost,” I answered him back.
Dr. Robert J. Sternberg, PhD, referred to as the “Love professor” because of his research on the field of love. He is an IBM professor of Psychology at Yale University in US of A, answered this same question when he was asked” “So what? Rejection is only a problem if people tell themselves it is.
“Let’s put it this way: You have to take the attitude that dating is like shopping for a car or a house or anything else. To see what’s available, you expose yourself to many possible choices. Sure, you risk rejection in love. But if you don’t, your chances of landing a less-than-optimal choice are higher.
“As the saying goes, ‘you never know until you try.’ If you try, at least you have a chance. But if you don’t ever try, you have no chance. And besides, sometimes you will be the rejecter.”
For us Filipinos, we also this way of saying,”Mamamatay na lang ako, hindi ‘yan makatitikim sa akin.” But we can counter this unreflective saying by also saying, “Mamamatay na lang siya, hindi ka pa rin makatitikim sa kaya.”
In our gospel today, Jesus came to a nation and to a people prepared by God through His works and the prophets to receive the fullness of His revelation. Jesus is received with enthusiasm, probably even with pride: “All speaks highly of Him,” (v. 22a). They consider Him as one of them, being the son of someone whom they know very well. “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?” (v. 22b). So what they said: “Do here in your native place the things are heard were done in Capernaum,” (v. 23). May be they added: “”We are sure, you will not fail us. We are your kababayans (town mates). You did this to other people whom you do not know and you are not part of them. How much more for us.” But Jesus did not concede to their request. Even though His words and deeds impress them, they rejected him. Actually the first mission of Jesus was to bring to His kababayans about this good news of the Kingdom of God. But when He talked about what happened during the time of Elijah and Elishah, they got angry. It is because they don’t want to talk about the past. Jesus was just reminding them of the past, but they could accept it, so they rejected Jesus.
Was it a case of judging a book by its cover? Was it because familiarity breeds contempt? Or was it because of the lack of purity in their hearts to perceive the work of God? May be all of the above.
A priest said in his homily that he made a trip to the Holy Land, particularly Jerusalem in 1985. Among the spots he visited was the tomb of King David, a highly revered monument for all Jews.
The lady tourist guide kindly showed them around David’s shrine and explained the great significance of the hallowed ground.
As the tour was about to end, this priest asked: “What about Jesus Christ? How do you regard Him?”
The lady looked at him sharply, her face stiffening. With her serene composure ruffled, she said angrily, “Jesus Christ was an impostor, an ordinary person, he doesn’t mean anything to us.”
Sensing that he had touched a raw nerve, he politely thanked the lady and hurriedly left the Jewish shrine. So even up to now, the Jewish people are still waiting for the Messiah to come.
In different degrees and on many occasions, we are also guilty of this thing. There is a tendency in us to discriminate against people according to their appearance, background and status in life. This blinds us from giving respect and loving concern for what they are. We fail to grasp the truth that their dignity, as it also true with our own lies on the fact that we are children of God. Kahit pangit pero anak pa rin ng Dios (Even ugly but still a child of God.”
In other case also, there are baptized Christians who never bother to go to Church. They even do not know the activities of the Church. I experienced this myself when somebody blurted, “Is it true that tomorrow is our parish patronal fiesta?” They even do not know the schedule of the Sunday mass. Some have been brought up in the Catholic schools yet fail to exemplify the Christian values of honesty, justice and love.
Are so used to religious matters, so familiar and so conformist that they no longer challenge us? Is Jesus so familiar to us that He no longer touches us? “Familiarity breeds contempt,” as the saying goes.
My dear friends let us be open because true acceptance of Jesus is openness to the Spirit’s call to each one of us.
See Today’s Readings: Cycle C