Focusing the Gospel
Key words and phrases: his native place, teach in the synagogue, took offense at him, A prophet, lack of faith
Connecting the Gospel …
To the point: Where does a prophet have honor? Where is a prophet heard? Not among kin or in familiar surroundings; not among those who lack faith. Herein lies the paradox: to have faith, we must be familiar with Jesus. The very stumbling block for the people in the Gospel is the necessary stepping-stone to hear Jesus' word and accept him. Faith-filled familiarity frees us to see ourselves as we are (those in need of Jesus) and to see Jesus as he truly is (a prophet with power to save).
… to the First Reading: Sadly, biblical tradition reveals that all too frequently God's prophets faced rejection and resistance. The story of Ezekiel in the first reading describes the lot of God's faithful servants, which was also the lot of Jesus.
… to experience: If we take seriously our own commitment to live gospel values, there will be times when we will be faced with misunderstanding, rejection, and ridicule. Indeed, the extent of the resistance may even be the measure of our commitment.