Hometown Blues

Readings for Friday July 31, 2009

Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, priest

First Reading: Leviticus 23:1,4-11,15-16,27,34-37
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 81
Gospel: Matthew 13:54-58

Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. They were astonished and said, "Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? Is he not the carpenter's son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?" And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house." And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith. (Matt 13:54-58)

I have to tell you, coming from personal experience, this passage has spoken out to me quite a bit. Now, I am not saying that I am a prophet who returned home to be rejected by his hometown, but I do know the feeling of having people look at you differently. I remember after my conversion, I began to act, talk and think differently differently (thanks be to God!). It confused my family and my friends quite a bit, they began saying things like "well who do you think you are?" or "you can't say that, you were the same way not long ago." It was very hard being around family and friends, because I did feel rejected because of my new beliefs, and to be honest it still is. It was once I read these words by Jesus that all of this began to make sense to me: "A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house."

Now, I would be lying if I said that things are not hard anymore, because it still is difficult to be around family and friends, but at least now they are sure where I stand. I stand by Christ, not the world. And as difficult as it may make previous close relationships, I realize what my priorities need to be, Christ first. When dealing with the world, even those parts of the world that we are most connected to, we must always keep in mind our top priority. If we keep God at the center of our life and truly live out the virtues and the life that we are meant to, we may just find some of those naysayers coming around and experiencing their own conversion. We should never underestimate the powerful witness that our lives can be to others.

May we always remember that we are here on earth to please God, not other people.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, you are good and just and we trust in you with all that we are. Lord may our lives be the free-will offering that is pleasing to you and that helps us store up treasures in your kingdom. We pray for all those in need of conversion, and for all of those who are in need of a change of heart, may they be brought to your love and mercy. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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