Monday, August 31, 2009


First Reading: 1 Thes 4:13-18
Psalm: 96:1, 3-5, 11-13 -- The Lord comes to judge the earth
Gospel: Lk 4:16-30

And he said, "Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place." - Luke 4:24


In today's gospel, Jesus has returned to Nazareth to preach his message. He has done great works already, and word has reached his old friends and relations. They ask him to speak, and they are surprised by his words, but something still seems strange. They remember him growing up (imagine watching your savior grow up!), and it gets to be a block. They can't take him seriously. As the scene continues, they eventually despise him.

Whenever I am back at home, I find it very difficult to speak to old friends and relatives about the gospel. I know some of them do not believe in anything, let alone Jesus as savior, yet the small act of bringing up the topic of faith is very difficult. Later, it hurts terribly, realizing that I might not speak with that person again and they might not ever hear the message I could have given them.

Speaking with those who knew us before a spiritual awakening can oftentimes be very harsh. They know the mistakes that we've made and for some it is difficult to let those faults belong to our former selves. When I can speak to old friends about my beliefs and how they are founded in my faith, I am sometimes afraid that they will remind me that I had said very different things (often heretical or blasphemous) when I knew them. I fear being ostracized by family or rejected by friends.

Today's gospel gives us solace and courage. Our Lord was also rejected by those who knew him before his public ministry and we can find our own rejection in his. We must not be afraid to speak the word, especially to those we love most. However, we must also remember that it is only our job to be the messenger, not a pusher or an enforcer. We are called to spread the word, and those who hear it can choose to receive it, but it is Jesus who makes the love of God grow in the heart.

Heavenly Father, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Thank you for coming into our lives and blessing us. Lord, help us in our walk to be courageous when sharing the Word. Strengthen us and guide us when speaking, that we both speak timely and truly of your great love. Guide our steps, that we might meet those that most need to hear of you. We ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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