It’s just not easy to be a prophet

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They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him?” And they took offense at him.

Today’s gospel talks about the residents of Jesus’ hometown, and some of their old assumptions about him. They might have heard that he was a healer, a prophet – but they might not have remembered him as being wise. And they certainly weren’t prepared for what he said when he preached in the synagogue. Sadly, they paid a price for their cynicism. The gospel states that “he could not do any mighty deeds” in that place as they were so unbelieving. Can you imagine? He wasn’t the man they thought they knew, so they wouldn’t listen to him.

For us, too, it’s quite a shock when a person we think we know turns out to be quite different from what we formerly believed. Of course, in everyday life, this happens all the time. And we pay a price, too. People are usually better than we think they are, more trustworthy, more generous, smarter, far more experienced. But we rarely ask them to share their gifts – or sometimes we don’t listen when they do. Just think of our elders, whose lifetimes of experience and knowledge could be a blessing to us all.

Just a thought…there are simple steps to understanding what God wants from us. The first step is to gather information – but we need to be sure that it’s accurate, healthy, and life-giving. That’s what Jesus’ neighbors did. The second step is to develop knowledge. This is where we take the information we have, put it in a form that makes sense, and see if it works. That’s what only a few of Jesus’ listeners did. The third step is to acquire wisdom, where our knowledge is refined by experience and becomes trustworthy. Ultimately, this was what Jesus offered, and the villagers rejected.

We are blessed. We know where wisdom exists. It exists in our sacred scriptures, and in the teachings of our church. We only need to listen…

Dorothy A. Hathway, CSJA