The Good Word for Sunday January 31st ~ for the complete readings click here.
When was the last time you learned something new about your best friend? If you are married, what was the last thing you discovered about your spouse? How would you react if someone you knew well, revealed something new about themselves to you?
What if we never learned anything new about our closest friends? Imagine if we treated our best friend like they were the exact person they were when we first met them. Granted people’s personality and general dispositions maybe don’t change all that much over time. But I am willing to bet that the life situation and worldview of your longtime best friend is different now then when you first met them.
Let me give you an example of what I am trying to explain. We had some college friends over the other day and in the middle of general catching up, one of our friends revealed a small thing about them that no one in the room knew about. One of my friends then remarked, “Wow. We’ve known each other 25 years and we are still finding out new things about each other!”
The crowds in the gospel weren’t willing to find out anything new about Jesus. Jesus was Joseph’s son. Jesus was a local boy grown up, and not much more. So when Jesus stood, read the Messianic prophesy from Isaiah, and told them that he had come to fulfill the words of the prophet, well, Jesus’ hometown wasn’t ready to hear it.
Not only was Jesus’ hometown not ready to see and understand Jesus in a new way, they weren’t ready to understand what Jesus was saying about God’s mercy and love. Jesus was explaining that God would reveal himself, not just to the chosen ones of Israel, but to the gentiles as well. The crowds became livid because their understanding of God was rigid. They couldn’t think of Jesus as anything more than Joseph’s son and couldn’t imagine God loving anyone other than the chosen people.
Sometimes we get this way about Jesus and God too. People of faith have an experience of God and then that is the only way we think we can know or experience God. We meet Jesus Christ face to face, but then we think we are done searching.
The reality is that if our Catholic faith is a relationship with Jesus (and it is), then we must continue to grow in knowing Jesus. We can never settle.
When was the last time you discovered something new about Jesus? When was the last time you let God pour his mercy and love into a new part of your life?
Read one chapter from a gospel. Doesn’t matter which one. Matthew 11, Luke 9, John 20, Mark 6 – Whatever. It should take less than 10 minutes. Then sit in silence for 2 minutes and let Jesus be with you.