He [Jesus] went to his hometown and taught the people in their synagogue. They were amazed and said, “Where did he get this wisdom and these special powers? Isn’t he the carpenter’s son? Isn’t Mary his mother and aren’t James, Joseph, Simon and Judas his brothers? Aren’t all his sisters living here? How did he get all these things?” And so they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them, “The only place where prophets are not welcome is his hometown and in his own family.” And he did not perform many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
In various languages we come across proverbs which say that a great man’s greatness is not always recognized by the people who live with the great man. In this connection the French say, “Nul n’est un grand home pour son valet de chambre” (No one is a great man in the eyes of his butler) and the English say, “Familiarity breeds contempt,” that is, people do not respect someone they know well enough to be aware of his or her faults.
In today’s gospel reading we see how the relatives of Jesus react when Jesus begins his public ministry. Because of their closeness to Jesus, they cannot see him clearly. He is simply too familiar to them. They cannot bring themselves to believe that their local carpenter is a great man. And so they ask nothing of him—which in turn makes him powerless, for he never imposes himself on people.
Jesus experience misunderstanding and rejection. When we suffer similar experiences, let us turn to him for comfort, knowing that he will understand us perfectly and, therefore, be able to symphatize with us and give us the strength needed to bear our trial serenely.
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