Weekend Reflections for 7/7/18
"They took offense at him." This reaction of the people of Nazareth upon Jesus's homecoming is somewhat shocking. Perhaps there is in this Gospel scene a veiled warning against envy for you and me.
The people just can't believe that the hometown boy has made good, to the point where he is even curing people of their illnesses. It is almost as if they don't want to see Jesus excel, but be kept in his place, perhaps behind all his elders. I remember having this fear when I first returned to my hometown in Oregon after being ordained. Thankfully the people there were much more humble and appreciative.
Envy is the temptation whereby we don't recognize our own giftedness and instead get caught up in the gifts of another person, perhaps wishing we had those gifts ourselves, or perhaps denying that the person's gifts are real. C.S. Lewis says we can get quite proficient at seeing ourselves above others because we are cutting them off at the legs all the time.
May this Sunday's Gospel give us the courage to address any root of envy lying within us and instead replace it with the virtue of affirmation, affirming others' gifts. Our security should always be found in God and his radical love of us, not in how we compare to one another.
-Fr. Anthony Wieck, S.J.