He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.
Then he went about among the villages teaching.
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.
Did Jesus’ relatives and childhood friends really lack faith? These are the people he prayed with each Sabbath and played with during the week. As he was growing up, these people fed him, watched him, and maybe even corrected him. Did these people really lack faith in God and God’s promises?
I think the real issue is that they took offense at Jesus’ actions. They found it hard to see beyond the child and young man they had known. They wanted—even expected—Jesus not to change or grow up. They wanted him to remain the same person they knew.
Too often I take “offense” when family members, friends, or co-workers try something new or make a change in their lives. Sometimes I scoff at the new idea or am “less than encouraging” to the person making the change. If I am honest with myself, many times I don’t want the person (or the situation) to change.
Also…perhaps I try to limit these changes in others because I don’t want to admit that I should be making changes in my life.
—John Moriconi, S.J. is a Jesuit brother who serves as provincial secretary for the Chicago-Detroit Jesuit province.
Each person has inside a basic decency and goodness.
If they listen to it and act on it, they give a great deal
of what the world needs most.
It is not complicated but it takes courage.
It takes courage to listen to your own goodness and act on it.