Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds

3/5/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Where in our lives do we seek to exclude the Lord?

Am I willing to "throw Jesus off the cliff" in order to maintain the false illusion of mastery over my own life? This scene can be a powerful examination of conscience of each of us.  Am I open to the Word of God in all its fullness, or do I try to re-fashion it according to my own wants and desires?  Do I reject the Lord's teachings when they are inconvenient or difficult?

Highlights

By Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/5/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Year of Faith

Keywords: Daily Homily, Year of Faith, Gospel of St. Luke, Nazareth, The Will of God, Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds, St. Theresa Sugar Land


SUGAR LAND, TX (Catholic Online)  During Christ's lifetime, perhaps 120-150 people lived in Nazareth.  It was a small village, built on the side of a steep hill.  Residents lived in houses of one or two rooms, often built in front of the caves that dotted the hillside.  The cave was used as a stable, for storage, or as a workroom.  The site had been unoccupied for centuries, but was repopulated after the Jewish Hasmonean revolt of the second century before Christ.

Among the settlers was a small tribe of Israelites, probably from Babylon, where their ancestors had been exiled centuries before.  Settling in Galilee, they called their town "Nazareth," from the Hebrew word, "Nezer," meaning, "shoot" or "branch." The name evokes their descent from King David, and their tribe kept alive the prophecies uttered by Isaiah "there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.  And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him" (Isaiah 11:1-2).

According to the late biblical scholar and archeologist Fr. Bargil Pixner, O.S.B., Jesus was called a Nazorean not because of his hometown, but because this title points to his royal descent.

We can therefore imagine something of the potent expectation that animated the village when Jesus returned to Nazareth.  Even though St. Luke omits many of the details of this visit, the other Gospels tell us that for some time, Jesus had already been preaching and working miracles prior to his return home.  His kinsmen would have seen in the mighty deeds of their relative the fulfillment of God's promises.  They may have also been a little skeptical.  "No prophet is accepted in his own native place" Jesus says (Luke 4:24).

After an initial favorable reception, the people of Nazareth reject Jesus in a violent and dramatic way: they try to kill him.  "They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong" (Luke 4:29). Why this sudden turn against Jesus?

Perhaps Jesus' message was not what the Nazoreans expected.  The Lord's mission was not to restore the prestige of his ancestral house, but to proclaim the message of salvation.  We can imagine that some of Jesus' extended family of was hoping that their moment in the sun had finally arrived. 

In much of the ancient world, as in many places today, success is achieved not "by what you know" but  "by who you know."  Confronted with a legitimate claimant to the throne of King David, some of Jesus' kinsmen may have been fantasizing how this man would restore the fame and fortune of their family, in which they would naturally share.  Jesus burst the bubble of their unrealistic expectations.

The Nazoreans - at least those who led the charge to do away with Jesus - were turned inward, looking to their own interest.  On the other hand, Jesus is oriented toward others: first to the will of his Father, then to the salvation of the world.  He wants his clan to be saved, not enriched.

This brush with death anticipates the rejection that Jesus will suffer from the hands of his own nation and the death that will be meted out to him. 

The Lords' effortless escape from the violent hands of his persecutors also demonstrates that he exercises absolute sovereignty over the unfolding of his passion and death.  Jesus is not simply an innocent victim of unfortunate circumstance.  "No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father" (John 10:18).

This scene can be a powerful examination of conscience of each of us.  Am I open to the Word of God in all its fullness, or do I try to re-fashion it according to my own wants and desires?  Do I reject the Lord's teachings when they are inconvenient or difficult? Am I willing to "throw Jesus off the cliff" in order to maintain the false illusion of mastery over my own life?

Even when the Gospel is difficult to embrace, even when it challenges us mightily, we ought to strive to echo the sentiments of St. Peter, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6:68).

-----

Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds is pastor of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Sugar Land, TX, a suburb of Houston.  You may visit the parish website at: www.SugarLandCatholic.com.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Year of Faith

The Sower. The Seed. The Field. Understanding the Christian Mission Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

"A sower went out to sow. And, as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for ... continue reading


A Meditation on the Sacred Heart of Jesus: My Heart to Gods Heart Watch

Image of

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, O burning furnace of divine Love, you are the symbol and summary of the whole mystery of our Redemption.  O mystery of mysteries, an infinite Love which no vessel can contain emptied itself into a finite human vessel of love-and so became ... continue reading


Reflection on the Catholic Catechism: Understanding the Bible Watch

Image of

By Michael Terheyden

How we interpret the Bible is of immense importance! It directly affects what we believe about Christ, the Church, and our faith, but it is also related to many of the grave problems in our society and the world. Yet, despite the gravity of this situation, we have good ... continue reading


Christ the King, the Year of Faith and the Catholic Counterculture Watch

Image of On this Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Year of Faith inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI comes to a ceremonial end. However, in reality, it cannot and will not end, because Jesus Christ is King! The Year of Faith was only the beginning for those who choose to live the Life of Faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Church year offers to each one of us to consider the creature called time, receive it as a gift, and begin to really live our lives differently.  This is one of ... continue reading


The Bones of Peter, the Successor of Peter: Close of the Year of Faith Watch

Image of The bones of St. Peter the Apostle

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On the Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Sunday which marks both the end of the Church Year and the end of the Year of Faith, inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis greeted thousands of the faithful and presided over Holy Mass and the ... continue reading


Fr Randy Sly on Becoming a House of Prayer Watch

Image of Jesus drives the money changers from the temple. 

With hearts clear and focused on our Lord, we can follow the advice of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Everything starts with prayer. Love to pray--feel the need to pray often during the day and take the trouble to pray. If you want to pray better, you must pray more. The more you pray, the easier it becomes. Perfect prayer does not consist of many words but in the fervor of the desire which raises the heart to Jesus. (Fr. Randy Sly)

By Father Randy Sly

Becoming a House of Prayer is the best discipline we can take on. St. Ephraem of Syria states that Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy ... continue reading


Jesus Weeps and Offers the Path to Peace Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If this day you only knew what makes for peace- but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your ... continue reading


The Kingdom of God is Among You. What Did Jesus Mean? Watch

Image of The Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well. Indeed, we call an apostolate every activity of the Mystical Body that aims to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth. (CCC#863)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In Jesus Christ, the Kingdom has been inaugurated. Upon his return it will be made complete and fully manifested in a new heaven and a new earth. We are members of the Body of Christ which makes it present here and now - as seed and sign for a world which is in labor. ... continue reading


Year of Faith: Bringing the Feast of the Presentation of Mary to Life Watch

Image of The Feast of the Presentation of Mary is celebrated in both the Eastern and Western Churches. It recalls the day in the life of the Jewish girl named Mary (Maryam) when her parents, Joachim and Anne, presented her to the Lord in the temple and dedicated her life to Him.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On this Feast of the Presentation of Mary, let us make the choice to surrender ourselves to the same Lord who Joachim and Ann honored when they presented their dear daughter in the temple. Their daughter, Mary, became the Second Eve. The New Creation was born through ... continue reading


WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Our Lady's Encouragement Watch

Image of

By Fr Samuel Medley, SOLT

I got off the subway at Termini station and went up to the busy streets of Rome.  I had to walk past the place where all the prostitutes gathered.  I looked down at the street and began to pray in fear.  Suddenly I heard a feminine voice say, "Be a man!" ... continue reading


All Year of Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 12:31--13:13
31 Set your mind on the higher gifts. And now I am ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:2-3, 4-5, 12, 22
2 Give thanks to Yahweh on the lyre, play for him on ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 7:31-35
31 'What comparison, then, can I find for the people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 17th, 2014 Image

St. Robert Bellarmine
September 17: Born at Montepulciano, Italy, October 4, 1542, St. Robert ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter