In last week’s Gospel Jesus spoke to the people of Nazareth of his mission – “to proclaim liberty to captives…to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” The people of Nazareth were awe struck at what he said. They had known him as he grew up, being a typical boy with all the other children in the village. They were amazed and thought he would do wonderful things in their village. But then when Jesus started talking about people being healed in other places – and not just Jewish people – their story changed. They were outraged. They wanted him to make them and their village great. So in their anger they decided to get rid of him. The last sentence reads; “But Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away.”
This reading makes me think of the way we often are. We knew someone in the past. Maybe we lived with them 20 or 30 years ago. We figured we knew them and what they were capable of doing. Now years later, we meet them or hear of things they are doing today. Sometimes the feelings of the past surface and we become indignant and think that that person doesn’t have the ability to do those things. We say, “Who does she think she is, putting herself out like that?”
Or we become jealous. Why have I been overlooked? Why was she picked when I have some those same skills?
That’s where today’s second reading comes in. Paul tells us to strive for a more excellent way. He says that “love is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests”.
Can we not rejoice with the accomplishments of others? Jesus was not looking for praise or recognition. He simply wanted God’s Word to be known to all. His mission was to “bring glad tidings to the poor…to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” His word was open to all who wished to follow. He didn’t give special treatment to others just because they knew him. He came to serve and not to be served and taught his followers to do the same.
Jesus didn’t let their anger and their envy get to him. Like Jesus let us pass over the self-centered feelings that arise and rejoice in the gifts and goodness of others.