Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Our Problem, Not His...

“And they took offense at Him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in His native place and among his own kin and in His own house.” So He was not able to perform any mighty deed there, a part from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith”
-John 6: 4-6

May the Lord give you His peace!

Last Wednesday night, due to a break from classes at the Seminary, I was able to attend Mass at my college alma mater in Iowa. During the homily, the priest challenged us to reflect on the above passage from John and how it was both “surprising and scandalous.” After a long day of driving, the best I could come up with was the notion of how Jesus was not accepted in His hometown - of all places! Well I wasn’t entirely correct, but I guess I could have made a case. What about you? Any guesses?

“So He was not able to perform any mighty deed there…”

Does this line make anyone else surprised or confused? This statement should make us very uncomfortable! Our Lord in this situation was not able to perform any mighty deeds like He had been doing all over the region. A subtle line like this in the Gospel is easy to skip over if don’t take time to think about the implications of what is said. Jesus was not able… Was He losing power? Did He not want to? Was He truly God?

While all those are good questions, we can take a deep breath and breathe a sigh of relief because the answer to the problem was not found in our Lord. It was found in the people. In this gathering, the people of the town were questioning Him and took offense at Him. And over the course of their time with Him, they shut themselves off to the Lord and everything He wanted to give them. The people were not able to receive what the Lord wanted to give them. It is not that Jesus was incapable of giving, it was that the people were incapable in receiving. Their hearts were closed and bitter. They were uncomfortable with the presence and invitation of Jesus to a better life. They shut Him out and closed themselves off from becoming fully who they were called to be.

My friends, how often we render Jesus powerless in our lives because we choose not to be ready to receive what he wants to give us! We, like the people in Jesus’ hometown, choose to close ourselves off to what the Lord and His Church want to do in our lives. Jesus came to bless us in abundance! He came to heal, forgive, transform, and unite. He came to inspire, love, teach, and bring peace. But, how often we find ourselves in a place in our culture and personal lives where we are not ready to receive what Jesus promised. Oh how He longs to give us everything we need, and how His heart aches when we cannot receive it!

So how can be ready or prepared to receive what the Lord wants to give? We must humble ourselves, and realize our own ways are not always right or what’s best for us. We must be open to conversion in our lives and turn away from the sin that keeps us from the grace of our Lord. We must stay close to the sacraments, especially Confession and the Eucharist. And finally, we must realize that what Jesus has to offer us is a better way for our lives. Our openness to receive from Jesus will change our lives instantly.

This week prepare your heart to receive from Jesus. Let us form a community and culture where Jesus can work and transform our lives. Are you ready?

God Bless You!

In Jesus and Mary,

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