Let People Grow (Fourteenth Ordinary)

Jesus left there and returned to his hometown. His disciples came along. On the Sabbath, he gave a  lecture in the meeting place. He made a real hit, impressing everyone. “We had no idea he was this good!” they said. “How did he get so wise all of a sudden, get such ability?” But in the next breath they were cutting him down: “He’s just a carpenter – Mary’s boy. We’ve known him since he was a kid.” (Mark 6: 1 – 3)

A friend of mine told me he wasn’t going to his high school reunion, “Why not?” I asked. “Back then everybody thought I was a loser. I’ve put together a very happy and satisfying life where people respect me, and I don’t want to return to being the butt of their jokes.”

In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus returns to his hometown to proclaim the message that’s begun to be well received far and wide. But the home-town folks can’t get passed their pre-conceived notions of Jesus. “Hey, we know all there is to know about this guy. Who does he think he is?” Because of their shortsightedness, they missed out on the Good News that Jesus embodies. Sometimes families pull this same trick on one another. We lock one of our family members into a role he or she played long ago, and we lack the ability to welcome all that he or she might have become. This is not only a disservice to the person who is locked in, but to everyone, because then we miss out on the good news of the gifts they have to offer. There was more to Jesus than met the eye. There’s more to each of us than meets the eye. Look at those around you with fresh and expectant eyes. Be ready to be surprised.

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