“No prophet is welcome in His hometown.”

Gospel of Luke, chapter 4:24

When Jesus stood up in the Synagogue of Nazareth, His hometown, He declared His mission to his own kinsfolk by quoting from the prophet Isaiah:

“The spirit of the Lord is upon me because He anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18).

This mission statement was great news to the poor, to those held captive, to the blind, to the oppressed, and to everyone who looked forward to the fulfillment of Jesus’ mission of redemption. But it was not good news to those who rejected Jesus’ mission (Matthew 25:31-66); it was not good to those who were only out for themselves which appears to have been the case with His own kinfolk in Nazareth who tried to kill him.

Instead of being like a politician who makes promises which he says he will later fulfill when he is in office, Jesus tells us that His promises are already fulfilled. The promise of the prophet Isaiah was already fulfilled in Jesus at the moment He began His ministry. This is good news for all of us for it means that God’s plan is already complete; it is not based on what we will do but on what God has already done for us. Blessed Mother Teresa understood this very well: “We are called to be faithful,” she said, “not successful.”

Jesus’ kinfolk in Nazareth were ready to acknowledge that He was an awesome teacher who impressed them by “the eloquent words he spoke: (Luke 4:22), but their admiration stopped there. He was Joseph’s son to them; a carpenter who could make a yoke for their prized oxen or a table and chairs for their home. But they were not going to allow Jesus, the carpenter, to be their Messiah. As a result, He performed no miracles in Nazareth.

The people of Nazareth were brainwashed by their superficial familiarity with Jesus, as the carpenter; the son of Joseph. They were unable to accept Him, however, as the Son of Yahweh.

Who is Jesus to you? Is He the Son of Joseph? Or is He the Son of God?

This question demands a response that is life altering.

Fr. Hugh Duffy

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