February 1, 2012
Wednesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary
Listen to the podcast version here.
from there and came to his native place, accompanied by
his disciples. When the sabbath came he began to teach
in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, "Where did this man get all this? What
kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds
are wrought by his hands! Is he not the carpenter,
the son of Mary, and the brother of James and
Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters
here with us?" And they took offense at him. Jesus
said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except
in his native place and among his own kin and
in his own house." So he was not able to
perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few
sick people by laying his hands on them. He was
amazed at their lack of faith. He went around to
the villages in the vicinity teaching.
Introductory Prayer: O Lord, you
said that blest are they who find no stumbling block
in you. I want to be a blest person, so
that you may find in me no obstacle to the
holiness you want for me. I believe in you, but
I long for a greater faith to see and respond
to the signs of your hand moving in my world.
I love you, Lord, and wish to lead my brothers
and sisters to you through my testimony, through my being
truly convinced that you are the life of men.
grant me the gift of total surrender to your will
for me in all things.
1. “Where did this man get
all this? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands”
How beautiful it is to contemplate the humble and meek
Christ! He now manifests, to the shock and awe of
the worldly-minded, the signs of his true origin and the
nature of his true mission. The power of God, the
power of the supernatural, now intervenes in what is merely
natural through the mere “carpenter’s son.” The “signs of credibility”
that Christ enacts through his mighty words and deeds powerfully
point to his divine origins and invite his contemporaries to
faith. It is an invitation to leave behind them the
superficial category of Jesus as just a nice neighbor (which
means they can live the same as before) and receive
the gift of Christ as Redeemer (which means change and
conversion). Are there signs in my life that the Lord
is looking to change me, to change my behavior in
some way so I might live more by faith and
charity? How much longer will I resist before I will
am won over by his goodness?
“And they took offense at him.” It is a sacrifice
to give God his place in the ordinary flow of
our day. To do so, we need to sacrifice our
sense of self-sufficiency, by which we are inclined to be
the prime mover of everything in our world. We need
to sacrifice our vanity, which desists from efforts to adore
God since they bring little or no applause from those
around us. We need to sacrifice the comfort of our
naturalism, our horizontal view of things. Ultimately this sacrifice is
a work of love responding to a divine invitation to
share in God’s life––love, because he is asking and wants
to see us giving. Let us move our hearts to
embrace this sacrifice joyfully, for the sake of love. It
helps to see that in this passage there are no
neutral states. Those who reject the invitation to love are
turned to love’s opposite––hate, specifically the hatred of the supernatural.
It is a tragedy at work in our culture in
many places, giving rise to the forces of anti-evangelization. Let
us pray and be vigilant that it may never become
3. “He was not able to perform any mighty
deed there.” Our Lord makes himself vulnerable to us, to
our willingness to believe. He comes only to make us
happy and to elevate our lives to be more beautiful,
deeper in meaning and richer in fruits. He wants to
bring into our life his power to work miracles and
to move mountains of fear and burdens that we encounter.
He comes to be ointment for our wounds and consolation
for our weary hearts. The only thing he needs to
make us happy, then, is our faith, our unconditional and
active faith. Without it (since he respects our freedom), we
cripple his capacity to act in our life as Savior
and Lord. How sad it is to see how easily
we refuse such a selfless and beautiful gift.
Christ: Lord, teach me to receive you with a heart
ready to leave my rationalistic way of acting and choosing.
Help me to know how to read your invitations with
supernatural faith and to follow them in true obedience, where
true love proves itself.
Resolution: I will be very obedient
to the lights I receive today from the Holy Spirit,
acting on them with promptness and generosity.