Deacon Stu Dobson’s Reflection 7-30-21

Deacon Stu Dobson’s Reflection
July 30, 2021
17th Friday in ordinary Time – July 30, 2021
LV23, 1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34-37, Ps 81:3-6, 10 -11ab, Mt 13:54-56

A young man decides to leave the small town he grew up in because there is not much there to offer him. He heads out to the “big city” and ends up doing very well. As he gets older, he is drawn back to that small town because of all the little celebrations they used to have. In the big city, people have forgotten about what the celebrations truly mean. To them, it is just a day off of work and a chance to make a few bucks on it. While the celebrations are still happening back at his old hometown, he did not get the reception he expected. In fact, he was derided, “Why did you come back? You have everything you need; you do not need to flaunt your successes here.” Normally in a Hallmark movie, the hero would come back to some negativity, but would eventually be accepted and do some good for the town, and everyone would be happy.

However, we are not in a Hallmark movie, and it is not going well. Jesus is back at home, going to the synagogue. With the first reading paired with His return home, I would surmise that Jesus was back to celebrate one of the many feasts the Jewish people commemorated during the year. It does not say He did, but there are plenty of examples of this in scripture, where Jesus and His disciples were celebrating or were about to celebrate some feast. I am just stretching this to think it could be a possibility. So, if Jesus was back for a celebration, He most certainly would be going to the synagogue and, of course, take the opportunity to preach. Yet it does not go well. It does not go at all like a Hallmark movie. In fact, they took offense to them. I guess that is a nice way to say they drove Him out. “Who are you, a carpenter’s son, telling us about the Torah?” I would also imagine during Jesus’ time, a carpenter was a manual laborer and down lower on the society chart. For Him to be preaching at the temple would be pretty unusual. So, it was a double whammy for Jesus. Coming back to His hometown, getting ridiculed, and then forced to leave. It was not a happy Hallmark ending. 

Yet, Jesus takes it all in stride. “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place.” Jesus was not worried about what His hometown would say. If they did not believe, well, He will just move on. He did not waste His energy there. Jesus reminds us that we, too, may not be accepted because of our faith. We, too, may be ridiculed and driven out of our hometowns. But, as long as we keep our faith, we will receive our just rewards. So, the next time you get an idea to head to your hometown, for whatever festival they are having, bring your faith, do not hide it.  And maybe, just maybe, you will be persecuted for that faith. Do not let it get you down. After all, the same thing happened to Jesus! If it does happen to you, have the Hallmark ending you deserve, the one that ends with your everlasting salvation. The one where you are received in God’s everlasting Kingdom. And the hometown? No worries, Jesus walked away when He had to, and so can you if you need to.

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL