No prophet is honored in his own country. Truly, I say to you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens withheld rain for three years and six months and a great famine came over the whole land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow of Zarephath, in the country of Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha, the prophet, and no one was healed except Naaman, the Syrian.
On hearing these words, the whole assembly became indignant. They rose up and brought him out of the town, to the edge of the hill on which Nazareth is built, intending to throw him down the cliff. But he passed through their midst and went his way.
We see in the gospel that Jesus was treated with bias and antagonism instead of hospitality and generosity from his townspeople when he returned to Nazareth, leading him to exclaim, “No prophet is honored in his own country.” In their narrow-minded pride they felt slighted that Jesus, who came from their town had not worked there the wonders he had worked elsewhere. They lacked one thing—faith in Jesus and in the God who sent him. They were blinded by their sense of familiarity and entitlement. We can easily identify with this story in our experiences of rejection especially when we fail to meet others’ expectations or when others think they know us too well that they cannot accept any change in us. The phrase, “familiarity breeds contempt” expresses our human tendency to be blinded to the value of what we have, taking for granted the goodness in us and in others. Jesus’ message seems clear. We need to have faith in a God of surprises and to be properly disposed for God to work wonders in and through us. Do we remain in God and have faith in God in good and bad times as the gospel challenges us?
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