July 31, 2015

Gospel MT 13:54-58

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?
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.

Reflection:

“Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue……and they took offense at him.”
I asked a friend of mine if he had friends from high school who were good kids but didn’t stand out in the class in any way.
“Sure,” he answered, “most of them.”
“What would your reaction be,” I asked, “if you were invited to a 20th class reunion and one of those guys was scheduled to give a talk on spirituality?”
He answered, “I’d probably break out laughing when I read the invitation.”
Although the boy we knew at sixteen may have the same name at thirty, he is not necessarily the same person. People are shaped and changed by their life experiences.
Do we listen to everyone with an open mind, or are we guilty of judging or “pigeon holing” people based on our personal relationship with the person?
It is the attitude of the listener that can have either a positive or negative impact on the effectiveness of the speaker to influence his audience.
I am reminded of my friend Tom, a 46 year old blind man with Down Syndrome, who was confined to a wheelchair.
Tom, like Jesus, was a simple man who spoke an important message.
Every time he heard someone utter a bad word about another person, Tom would speak up and say, “God loves everybody.”
The effectiveness of Tom’s message was apparent. When he spoke his message of God’s love, those listening changed their behavior and the gossiping stopped.

“When we meet together to listen to the word of God, we must come with eager expectancy, and must think, not of the man who speaks, but of the Spirit who speaks through him.”
William Barclay