He came to his hometown and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor except in their own country and in their own house.” And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
In yesterday’s reading from Jeremiah 18, we encountered a potter at the wheel. Sometimes the clay is his hands turns out well, easily assuming the particular shape he had in mind. But then the pot goes off center and quickly becomes ruined. At that point it is time to gather up the clay and begin it all over again. The important message is that God will never give up on me. The Lord will continue to re-shape and renew me until I am finally able to become the person God hopes for me to become.
Today’s gospel brings us to Jesus’ hometown synagogue. For his neighbors and relatives Jesus has become “just too much for them.” They simply can’t deal with this unique “pot” in their midst and want to shatter and remake the “pot” according to their narrow expectations. Matthew tells us that Jesus “did not work many miracles there because of their lack of faith.”
Do I spend too much time trying to please others and meet their expectations of the person I should become? Can I trust that God is at work in my body and soul, mind and spirit, shaping and molding the talents the Lord has lavished on me in a unique way? Can I partner with the Lord in molding and shaping these special gifts and talents – all for God’s greater glory and the service of my neighbor?
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Lord, when we focus our energies on impressing the boss, customers, those we love, even those we dislike, the joy is zapped from our “performance.” We simply can’t listen because we so desperately want to be heard. We can’t be present to the moment because our minds race ahead anticipating challenges. Slow us down, Lord. Remind us that peace can only be found when we use our talents to serve a greater need than the stroking of our egos. We thank you for our talents; for the opportunities to develop our gifts. Let us move through this day secure in our worth, grateful for our unique talents, and eager for the Spirit to stretch us to serve with greater anonymity.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team