Jesus is again rejected in His hometown of Nazareth. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Prudence so he can more effectively evangelize those who reject Jesus and by growing in the Virtue of Piety so he can always strive to draw others to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph. 

Liturgy

17th Week in Ordinary time – Friday – Mt 13:54-58

Commentary

After revealing glimpses of His Kingdom of Heaven through a series of parables in Matthew 13, Jesus returns to His “own country” (the literal meaning of the Greek is “fatherland”) of Nazareth to reveal Himself as the promised Messiah. A Nazarene who speaks Aramaic with a Nazarene accent, Jesus desired His own people of Nazareth would be among the first to come to Him. As was His custom, Jesus goes to the synagogue on the Sabbath.  

His townsfolk are impressed but become skeptical of the source of Jesus’ power, and ultimately, His identity.  Twice they ask, “where did this man get this”, unable to reconcile Jesus’ “wisdom and mighty works” with their experience of being neighbors of Mary, Joseph and Jesus for many years. The people’s response to Him is difficult to understand. The three most holy people who ever lived, the Perfect Son, the Immaculate Conception, and the Father’s hand-picked earthly father for His Son, have not been recognized for their holiness, despite living in Nazareth for several decades. Worse, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph are insulted, demeaned as a couple incapable of being the parents of the Messiah or contributing in any way to the extraordinary wisdom and virtue Jesus possesses. As Jesus discloses elsewhere, many see and hear but fail to understand and believe (Mt 13:13).  

In their hardness, the people are offended and reject God in their midst; they have disbelief, not just little faith. Jesus, with sorrow and amazement at their lack of faith, condemns their disbelief (“a prophet is not without honor…”). Unconstrained by men or their disbelief, Jesus chooses to perform only a few healing miracles in Nazareth and leaves, focusing His work on surrounding villages which will receive Him with ecstatic joy.   

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Reflect upon how Jesus reacts to the unbelief of His own kinsfolk in His hometown: Divine Prophet, Jesus with Generosity (a part of Justice) proclaims the Truth (a part of Justice) to His own people in the synagogue; the perfection of Meekness (a part of Temperance), rather than react with just Wrath at the insults to Him and His parents, Jesus offers a Gentle Rebuke (“A prophet is not without honor…”); with Vindication (a part of Justice by which behaviors are rewarded and punished), Jesus refuses to perform miracles for those who disbelieve.

Grow in prudence to evangelize those who reject Jesus

Realize: Like the rejection of Jesus in Nazareth, many Catholic men face the heartache of family and friends who reject or ignore Jesus and often struggle to know how to effectively challenge and call their family and friends to Jesus and His Holy Catholic Church.

Believe: Review the Catechism’s teaching (CCC 2123-2128) on Atheism (denial of God) and Agnosticism (uncertain of God).

Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Prudence so I can be well prepared to evangelize those who reject Your Son and prudently and effectively engage my family and friends with charity so they may come to love Jesus.

Draw others to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph

Realize: Like Jesus’ townsfolk, many men today overlook the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, whose holiness surpasses all but their Son. 

Believe: Reflect upon the Immaculate Conception (CCC 491-493, 971, 2673-2679) and Saint Joseph (CCC 437, 531, 2177).

Pray: Jesus, Son of Joseph and Mary, help me build the Virtue of Piety (a part of Justice) so I have a vibrant and steadfast devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, and guide me to joyously tell others about Your Blessed Mother and St. Joseph.