Rejected in His Own Town

Matthew 13: 54-58
Lv 23:1,4-16,27-37 / Ps 81

A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own household.
(Matthew 13:57)

If others remain cynical
That you have been in faith transformed,
Just remember it’s typical:
Prophets in their hometown are scorned.

Jesus came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own household.” And He did not work many miracles there because of their unbelief. (Matthew 13: 54-58)

Reflection

Is it in this Gospel passage where the phrase “familiarity breeds contempt” applies so well? Or perhaps it is just typical of the small-town mentality to disparage the accomplishments or acquired abilities of a native returning to his hometown. Unless one has reached the stature of a Manny Pacquiao or a Lea Salonga one does not receive the honor and praise of childhood friends and relatives. Jesus came home to Nazareth and displayed great power in healing and preaching. But in His mien and outward appearance, He remained the same simple son of the carpenter Joseph. Being the Son of God, He needed no praise or adulation, but neither did He deserve the villagers’ depreciating and offensive remarks. He had divine wisdom to impart, but they could not receive His messages, for they “knew who he was from the start.”

Even in a Christian community, there is always the tendency to prejudge others, especially those who assume leadership positions. Perhaps it is because we have been pre-conditioned in our growing years to be competitive and hierarchy-oriented. If we are not conscious of our social status, it is our career position, our car, house, clothes, complexion, height, nose, etc. Only when we have developed fully that most intimate relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ do we find that all the external and superficial aspects in life are not that important or necessary.

Jesus teaches us to be humble. Even when He was rejected by His own village folk, He did not go about to “show them” as many of us would have the natural tendency to do to prove ourselves. He teaches us not to seek honor for ourselves, because the only honor we should strive for is what we hope to receive from the Father once we have achieved true humility.

Lord Jesus, there are times when our service may be misunderstood as ambition or self-glorification. Help us then to follow Your example of humility, and continue to serve even in the face of rejection. We do not seek the honor and praise of men; but only the grace to act according to the Father’s Will, and to be pleasing to You in everything that we do. Amen.

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