Based on the Gospel of Luke 4:21-30
Hometown trouble! Remember last week when Jesus returned to Nazareth, his hometown, and read from the Scriptures in the synagogue? This Sunday’s Gospel continues with what happened next.
After Jesus had spoken, the people talked about him and were excited about his preaching. They had heard about the miracles he performed in other places. They also kept asking, “Isn’t he the son of Joseph the carpenter?”
The Bible translates the Greek word tekton as carpenter to describe the work done by Joseph and Jesus. A tekton was a skilled worker who used many tools and materials, including stone and wood. Houses in Nazareth had stone or mud-brick walls. Wood was used for roof beams, door frames and doors.
Joseph and Jesus probably did all of the building and handyman work in Nazareth because at Jesus’ time the population of Nazareth numbered 120 to 150 people. There were no power tools. The wood pieces and stone blocks were cut and shaped with hand tools. Joseph and Jesus then wrestled the wood beams and stone blocks into place.
When Jesus began preaching and performing miracles, he was calling people to change their sinful ways, to be open to God’s forgiveness and love, and to share that love and goodness with others. The people marveled at his preaching and his words began to sink in. Jesus read a passage from the book of Isaiah which spoke of the Messiah and he said, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” In other words, Jesus told them he is the Messiah. That was too much for them.
Because Jesus was a hometown boy and worked among them as a carpenter, because he did not fit into their idea of a powerful Messiah with military might and political clout, and because Jesus told them the Good News is for all people and not just for the Jews, the people of Nazareth got angry and wanted to push him off a cliff. But Jesus slipped through the crowd and escaped.
No hometown welcome or faith. Jesus was amazed and saddened at the people’s lack of faith in Nazareth. He left Nazareth and spent time teaching, preaching and performing miracles in the neighboring villages.
We can welcome Jesus by listening to his Word at Mass, by receiving him into our hearts in holy Communion, by seeing him in the love of family and others around us, and by seeing him in all of creation.
Each day as we say the Apostles’ Creed or each time we say the Nicene Creed at Mass, we are saying, “Jesus, we believe in you.” Jesus, help our faith to grow.