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Monday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings: 1 Corinthians 2: 1-5; Psalms 119: 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102; Luke 4:16-30

My dear encountered couples:

The Good News that Jesus brought to the people of his hometown, Nazareth, was the best news they'd ever heard or even hoped for. But they didn't listen, they didn't take it seriously, because they didn't take Jesus seriously. And why? “Because we know your father, Joseph, and he's nobody.”Jesus’ neighbors ultimately cannot reconcile this new messianic prophet with the young man they thought they knew, the son of a lowly workman.

That's pretty lightweight reasoning, but it had heavy consequences for those villagers. It cut them off from everything Jesus had to offer. It threw away their chance for a whole new life. They were so sure they knew who Jesus was, and they were so wrong. Is this not a temptation that all of us face?

So often we fail to see God’s unfolding grace in front of our eyes, because we have already made up our minds. We put people in stereotypical boxes, and fail to appreciate their unique gifts. We remember friends as they used to be, and don’t allow for them to mature, grow, or change. We think that God’s blessing is only for “our people,” and fail to accept that God is equally at work in the lives of the widow of Zarephath or Naaman the Syrian. In sum, we get locked into our “human wisdom,” as St. Paul writes today, and fail to see the “power of God” at work all around us.

And that raises a fair question about us: Do WE really know who Jesus is and what he's about, or do we just THINK we do because we've been showing up at his church for quite a few years? It reminds me of G. K. Chesterton's words, “Christianity hasn't failed; it just hasn't been tried!”

Why not try a few questions on ourselves: Have we spent enough serious time with the Lord to really know his mind, to see the world through his eyes, to see our lives through his eyes? Are we different persons than we would have been because our hearts are bonded to the Lord the way that two pieces of wax bond together?

A “NO” answer to any of those questions will tell us that we're like Jesus' neighbors in Nazareth: We think we know him, but we don't - no matter how often we happen to show up in church. Knowing the Lord takes an open heart and lots of listening time. Why not start listening right now. Jesus has Good News that will surprise you ... if you hear it on the inside!

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