There’s a sadness with this familiar story about Jesus attempting to minister at home. We know the details on a historical level – Jesus is not able to accomplish very much because the people’s limited vision, and closed hearts: “Is this not the carpenter s son?” “Where did this man get all this?” The lack of faith is so severe that Jesus is unable to work many of the spectacular deeds that he could elsewhere. Jesus assessment is observational and painful at the same time, “a prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.” There must have been sadness that a place so important as home – that would be so near and dear to Jesus’ heart could have been so cold and closed to a “native son.”
Fast forward some 2,000 plus years… There’s something uncomfortably familiar: That insistence that says something has to be bigger, flashier – spectacular even in order for them to be worthwhile. There’s nothing wrong with big, grand dreams and trying to see them come into existence. The problem comes, as the gospel story points out to us, when we fail to recognize the wonder and the majesty in the more ordinary and mundane things that are part and parcel of our lives.
Miracles are all around us. Unlike Jesus neighbors, we have the vantage point of these 2000 plus years to reflect on the extraordinary goodness of how God s presence surrounds us, continues to penetrate present time and space. For this, though, we need to remain open to the ways that God is made known in our world. Where are the miracles in my life? It’s probably a bit easier for us to reflect on incredible feats from the past… stories of Saints like St. Ignatius of Loyola (who we celebrate today) John Paul II or St. Mother Teresa… Blessed Fr. Solanus Casey (who’s birth to eternal life is today actually) Bl Chiara Badano… who’s heroic virtues and sacrifices humble and confound us
But what about the quiet, steady, faithfulness of that friend who is juggling so many things as they try to raise children who care and try to make a difference? That uncle who struggles with illness and does not make it burdensome to others? The aunt who fights depression and the demons that threaten? The grandmother who ages so gracefully?
The examples can go on . . . Are we too close to them to recognize the grace? Are we, like Jesus neighbors, blinded by the fact that we know these folks – even know their faults and quirks all too well, so that we can t see them as the living miracles that they are? May we pray for the openness to notice and to be amazed at those quiet, daily, constant ways that God tells us so insistently, “I am here for you; do not be afraid.”