Rationalizing and blaming seems to be the mode of operation for Jesus’ audience in today’s gospel. Though they were “astonished” at Jesus’ teaching, they chose to push it away. Maybe it did sting a little, or they would not have been so offended. Jesus was “amazed at their lack of faith” – sometimes those who are close to us can disappoint. Though Jesus repeats ancient wisdom about a prophet’s honor in his own country, perhaps it disappointed him all the more to see his own kin and neighbors dismiss his words.
Jesus did not perform any “mighty deed” there, other than healing a few sick. I imagine those who were healed were grateful for the miracles. Would those miracles soften some hearts? We can hope and pray that such softening can occur, even in the midst of our own generation that actually seems a lot like this audience – skeptical, stubborn, looking for faults to bring others down so that somehow we can lift ourselves up. And we who welcome Jesus can also seek a softening of our own hearts, too, so that we may receive the Word and allow it to bear fruit.
By Edward Morse