Daily Reflections

Matthew 13:54-58  •  St Alponsus Liguori (Memorial)

The inhabitants of the tiny hamlet of Nazareth, where Jesus grew up, are clearly rather flummoxed by him. Put simply, they cannot get their heads around the fact that one of their own is so wise and charismatic, and is able to perform these extraordinary miracles. The Nazarenes ask five rhetorical questions about the Lord. In essence, if we boil them down, they are questions we might find on the lips of our contemporaries today: Who is this Jesus? Where does he come from? Where do his wisdom and power come from?

We can boldly claim that no other person in history has befuddled and flummoxed the human race as much as Jesus. Jesus never fails to challenge, perplex and confuse, and from the very beginning he caused offence. Jesus causes offence because the incarnation is offensive. Jews reject the very notion that God could become man, and Muslims are horrified by the suggestion. Unbelievers and sceptics scoff at God’s existence and pour scorn on the Christian revelation that God not only exists but humbled himself by becoming man.

The bishops at the Second Vatican Council expressed their understanding of God made man in the following words: ‘For by his incarnation the Son of God has united himself in some fashion with every man. He worked with human hands, he thought with a human mind, acted by human choice and loved with a human heart. Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like us in all things, except sin’ (Gaudium et spes 22). This profound truth is at the very heart of Christian faith.

However, before we get too self-righteous or indignant with Jesus’ fellow Nazarenes we need to examine ourselves: there is a way in which we too can become so familiar with the truths of our faith that we become nonchalant or even lukewarm towards them and they no longer excite us or give us joy. To question, probe, enquire and ask God for deeper revelation or understanding into the truths of our faith is good, healthy and proper. Let us only seek to ensure that our questioning doesn’t stem from a heart that is resistant to the mysteries of God.

Lord God, teach me to revere and cherish the truth of the incarnation so that I can be drawn ever deeper into its life-giving mystery, to the glory of Jesus.

Jeremiah 26:1-9  •  Psalm 68(69):5, 8-10, 14
Matthew 13:54-58

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