Weekend Reflections for 2/1/19
In today’s Gospel Jesus’ hometown folk perceive him to be stepping shamefully beyond his traditional hometown family boundaries. Jesus stirs controversy at the very least because he does not seem to be carrying on Joseph’s trade. He is doing something different. He is reaching out to “untouchable” foreigners, just as the prophets Jeremiah, Elijah and Elisha did. Their prophetic boundary breaking also got them into trouble at home. Likewise, Jesus’ hometown folk find his breach of family honor intolerable.
While the gospel is always Good News, it is not always comfortable, because it sometimes challenges us to stretch beyond where we are “at home” now. We too, like Jesus, share in his prophetic call. While we might prefer the romantic side of the love St Paul expounds about in today’s second reading, any good parent knows that authentic Christian love also sometimes requires us to challenge our own hometown folk as well as to comfort them. This requires the type of discernment we learn in the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises.
When we witness boundary breaking prophets in our midst, or even when we ourselves might be called to prophetic action in our world, like reaching out to strangers and migrants, what might be our response:
· amazement or fury?
· welcoming Jesus as he welcomes strangers, or expelling him from our midst?
· growing in discipleship or stagnating in our “hometown” narrowness?