Lectio Divina


Thursday - Easter Time

1) Opening prayer

Creative God,
when by your word
you had accomplished your creation,
you entrusted it to people
whom you had created in your image
and you said: fill the earth and subdue it.
Fill us with your Spirit, Lord,
that we may preserve the beauty and order
of your magnificent creation
and that like St Joseph
we take up the task entrusted to us
of perfecting your creation
in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 13,54-58

Coming to his home town, Jesus taught the people in their synagogue in such a way that they were astonished and said, 'Where did the man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? This is the carpenter's son, surely? Is not his mother the woman called Mary, and his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Jude? His sisters, too, are they not all here with us? So where did the man get it all?'
And they would not accept him. But Jesus said to them, 'A prophet is despised only in his own country and in his own house,' and he did not work many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

3) Reflection

• Today is the Feast of Saint Joseph the worker; the Gospel describes the visit of Jesus to Nazareth, the city where he was born, where he lived 30 years and where he learnt from Joseph, his father, the trade of carpenter. Passing through Nazareth was painful for Jesus. His community was no longer like the one before. Something had changed. In Mark’s Gospel, this experience of rejection on the part of the people of Nazareth (Mk 6, 1-6a) led Jesus to change his pastoral practise. He sends his disciples on mission and instructs them on how to relate with persons (Mk 6, 6b-13).
• Matthew 13, 54-57a: reaction of the people of Nazareth before Jesus. Jesus grew up in Nazareth. When he began his wandering preaching, he left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum (Mt 4, 12-14). After this long absence, he returned to his home town, and as it was his custom, on Saturday, he went to the meeting of the community. Jesus was not the coordinator, but he began to speak and to teach the people who were in the Synagogue. This is a sign that the people could participate and express their opinion. But people were not pleased to hear what he said. The Jesus, whom they had known since his childhood, did not seem to be the same today. Why had he become so different? In Capernaum, people accepted the teaching of Jesus (Mk 1, 22), but here in Nazareth people were scandalized. They said: “Where did the man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? This is the carpenter’s son, surely? Is not his mother the woman called Mary, and his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Jude? His sisters, too, are they not all here with us? So where did the man get it all?” They did not accept the mystery of God present in a common man like themselves! In order to be able to speak about God, Jesus should be different from them! They will not witness that they believe in him. So everything did not go well for Jesus. The persons who should have been the first ones to accept the Good News of God, these were the persons who were less ready to accept it. The conflict was not only with those outside the house, but also, and above all, with his own relatives and with all the people of Nazareth.
• Matthew 13, 57b-58: Reaction of Jesus before the attitude of the people of Nazareth. Jesus knows very well that “a prophet is despised only in his own country”. And in fact he says: a prophet is despised only in his own country and in his own house”. In fact, where there is neither openness nor faith, nobody can do anything. The preconception prevents this. And Jesus himself even wanting, he could not do anything. The Gospel of Mark says this clearly: “And he could work no miracles there, except that he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith” (Mk 6, 5-6).
The brothers and sisters of Jesus. The expression “brothers and sisters of Jesus” causes much polemics between Catholics and Protestants. Basing themselves on this and other texts, the Protestants say that Jesus had many brothers and sisters and that Mary had other children! Catholics say that Mary did not have other children. What can we think about all this? In the first place, both positions, the Catholic one and the Protestant one, take their argument from the Bible and from the Tradition of their respective Churches. For this reason, it is not convenient to deal with or discuss this question with purely intellectual arguments. In fact, it is a question of profound convictions, which have to do with faith and with the sentiments of both groups. The purely intellectual arguments do not succeed to cancel a conviction of the heart! Rather, this only causes anger and separates people more! But when I do not agree with an opinion of another person, I must respect it. In the second place, instead of struggling around the texts, we all, Catholics and Protestants, should unite more in order to fight to defend life, created by God, a life so disfigured by poverty, by injustice, by the lack of faith, by the lack of respect toward nature. We should keep in mind other phrases of Jesus: “ I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full” (Jn 10, 10). “May they all be one, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me” (Jn 17, 21)

4) For personal confrontation

• Jesus had problems with his people. Since you began to participate in the community, has something changed in the relationship with your people?
• Jesus could not work many miracles in Nazareth. Why is faith so important? Perhaps, Jesus could not work miracles without the faith of people? What does this mean for me today?

5) Concluding Prayer

Before the mountains were born,
before the earth and the world came to birth,
from eternity to eternity you are God. (Ps 90,2)

 
 
 
 
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Last revised: 24 April 2008