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We too reject Christ

By Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

The gospel of this 14th Sunday presents Jesus as a teacher and prophet. Jesus returned to his hometown and taught in the synagogue but his town mates had wrong notion about him. “How can he claim to be a teacher and prophet when we know his relatives?” they muttered. “Isn’t he the carpenter’s son? Where did he get all his knowledge?” (Mk 6,2).
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Sensing their negative attitude, Jesus said: “No prophet is accepted in his own country” (6,4). The Scripture relates further, “He could work no miracles there. He was astonished by their lack of faith” (6,6).
The attitude of Christ’s Jewish town mates could be ours, too. We may not reject Jesus outright since Filipinos are generally religious and prayerful. But there is the danger that we take him and his teachings for granted.
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For instance, the Sunday Mass-going, the prayers can become so routinary and mechanical that we don’t feel their meaning and value anymore.
This applies to the lessons we hear and read in the Sacred Scriptures. If you want to appreciate God’s Word and the Mass, one way is to take extra effort to do so. You must listen, reflect on the readings and strive to apply the lessons in your own life.
This is what Bible reading groups like the “Bibliarasal” do. Not content with just being members of the church, they seek to know the will of God from the Scriptures and find concrete ways to apply it in their homes, workplaces, and neighborhood.
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Another lesson of this Sunday’s gospel concerns relationship with one another. Jesus’ town mates could not accept him because he was too familiar to them. Remember the old dictum, “Familiarity breeds contempt”?
Do we tend to take people for granted just because we meet them day in, day out? Do we recognize their worth and positive qualities or do we see only what’s negative in them? How often do we hear about married couples who’re so devoted and caring when newly married. But as time goes on, the closeness fades away.
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Someone in the Marriage Encounter once said that when a couple is newly married, the word ASAWA (spouse) is still complete.
“But as the years pass, the letters gradually disappear. After a couple of years, the A vanishes and what have you”? ‘Sawa,’ (fed up). Then after a couple more years, the S disappears and you have ‘Awa’ (pity), and after some more years, the A fades off, too; what remains? ‘Wa’! (no more) – no more love or worse, no more spouse!
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Very often we realize the goodness of family members and relatives when they’re dead. That’s when we extol their qualities – although very exaggerated – as in some necrological services!
The gospel message of today teaches that we must have faith to transcend the ordinariness of the carpenter’s son from Nazareth. Likewise, we need faith to see beyond the undesirable traits of people we live or work with.
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For inquiry, e-mail me at: belsvd@gmail.com.