Faith and Familiarity

The WORD in Other Words (2018) by Fr Jose Honorio Mateo SVD (Paraguay) for Wednesday Week 4 in Ordinary Time

DID JESUS HAVE BROTHERS AND SISTERS? Did Mary have other children with Joseph? Did Joseph have other children from a previous marriage?Complicated? The Catechism of the Catholic Church (500) clarifies this and states: “… the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus. The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, “brothers of Jesus”, are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, They are close relations of Jesus.”

What is the point? The gospel today wants to show not the number or names of Jesus’ family members but the fact that in His own town where His friends and relatives were, He did not find faith. So He compares Himself with the prophets of old whom the people rejected. The people of Nazareth could not accept Jesus as the Messiah for the simplicity and humility of His origin. He was for them, only, a carpenter!

What can we learn from all this? Many times, we have the tendency to belittle anything or anyone familiar to us. And easily, we fall into the trap of not valuing these people or things. The talents of a friend, the care and concern of parents, the Word of God, the Eucharist are just some examples. The people of Nazareth despised Jesus because they knew Him at close range. Sometimes, too much familiarity generates lack of respect instead of producing appreciation and admiration. Oftentimes, we do not treasure the many blessings we receive from God. We get so used to His goodness that we sometimes end up ignoring Him. So, we take each other, and God, for granted!

Familiarity breeds contempt? The people of Nazareth rejected Jesus because they knew Him as a carpenter, just that. May it not be the same with us. May we come to ̈know Him more clearly, love Him more dearly, follow Him more nearly ̈. May our familiarity with Jesus lead us to a strong and deeper faith in Him. He is for us not just a carpenter. He is our BROTHER!

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