St John Vianney, priest &
Patron of all Priests, pray for us
17th Week in Ordinary Time : Friday 4th August 2023
Ps. 80:3-6,10-11; Mt. 13:54-58 (Ps. Wk. I)
There is a saying, “With friends like these, who needs enemies?”
This was the case with Jesus when He returned home to minister to the people there. Having heard about the healings and miracles that He performed in the other towns and hearing how He taught in their synagogue, the people of Nazareth were astonished, but it did not change how they saw Him, as no more than “the carpenter’s son” and “the son of Mary”. Although impressed by Jesus’ authoritative teaching, they could not overcome their prejudice and bias against His humble origins. “Where did the man get it all?” they asked, refusing to accept what they saw with their own eyes and heard with their own ears. Failing to make sense of it all, they rejected Him and probably wrote Jesus off as a false prophet and a charlatan.
The Lord was not surprised at this because most, if not all, of Israel’s prophets were despised by their kinsfolk. But what a tragedy it is to be unable to minister to one’s own because of their prejudice. Jesus loved them indeed, but He would not force or insist.
In the same way, can we, like Jesus, be generous towards those who mistreat us because of their bias? Rather than fighting with them, it is best to let them be and attend to others instead. Let our prayer imitate Christ when He said from the cross:
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (cf. Lk.23:34)