Misunderstood Jesus.

We are in a season of holidays, vacations, a time of rest and recharge, but also a time when, while resting, there is more time to reflect on things, events, and relationships that we have not paid enough attention to in the rush of responsibilities, or that we have put off until later.
Among the issues worthy of reflection is respect. How much care do we give to our neighbors, ensure that we receive respect from others, and how respectfully do we fulfill our Christian responsibilities.

The Evangelist Matthew stated in his Gospel how the relatives of the Lord Jesus acted when he visited their city, “They were offended with him” (Mt. 13:57).

The Lord Jesus lived almost His entire life in Nazareth. He loved this city, even though its inhabitants did not love Him. He often returned to it during His public appearances. He spent his youth there, and he had his peers there, and his mother and his relatives lived there. Jesus meant well to his countrymen, but they did not understand him and did not want to understand him. They did not want to acknowledge that one of their own, the son of a carpenter whose family they knew well, could be the prophet, even the Messiah, that the nation was waiting for.
They did not understand his teachings. Therefore, they often questioned him: “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother’s name Mary, and his brothers James and Joseph, Simon and Jude?” (Mt. 12:55-56). And filled with wonder, they added another question: “Where did he get all this?” (Mt. 13:56). They did not esteem Jesus, and he felt pained at their attitude, so he sadly remarked to them, “A prophet is honored everywhere but in his own country and in his own house” (Mt. 13:57). Jesus, however, was not disgusted by this. He continually convinced them he was the true prophet and the expected Messiah. Jesus did nothing by force. He did not forcefully call anyone to himself. He spoke to the rich young man like this: “If you want to be perfect… Follow me!” (Mt. 19:21).

If you want to, because you may or may not want to, and you may or may not answer my call, but if you want to, you can follow me.

The parents of the Lord Jesus did not want to follow Him or acknowledge Him as a prophet, much less than the Messiah. They simply did not want to because they were sick of him. They saw nothing extraordinary in him. Perhaps they were thinking, as Philip, one of his disciples, later thought, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth!” (Jn 1:46).
And perhaps they had an exaggerated idea of the Messiah. We don’t know why they took such a view of Jesus. The Evangelists are silent about it. But we can surmise; that they were looking at Jesus from a human view; they had no supernatural faith, and here surely is the root cause of the problem. They could not understand that God often chooses simplicity to save the wise. Indeed, they were angered by the fame spreading around Jesus, which they were hearing more and more. After all, the miracles He performed in Capernaum made Him great in the eyes of the people. And they also had a different idea of the Messiah. They pictured the prophet as a man who was hard, unapproachable, and admonishing. But the conduct of the Lord Jesus was quite different; he was different. He could not be compared to any prophet. He was God! And this they could not understand.

How do we imagine Christ today? How do we look at him with our eyes? If we want to understand the teachings of Jesus Christ, we must be first all notice his humility. We must realize that Jesus did not come into the world to judge the world but to save the world. He brought the teaching of love, that virtue which, even today, the world does not want to know in its best and most beautiful sense. Those who do not daily strive to carry out his commands in their lives can never say that they know Christ. In this way, we can understand the words of Paul the Apostle, that the Lord Jesus was a stumbling block to the Jews, foolishness to the Gentiles, but the hope of redemption to those who believe in Him.
Whether the Lord Jesus succeeded in convincing His countrymen of His mission, we know from an incident written by St. Luke: “He came to Nazareth, where He grew up. According to his custom, he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and rose up to read. They handed him the book of the prophet Isaiah. When he unfolded the book, he found a place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…’ Then he closed the book, gave it back to the servant, and sat down… and began to speak: “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled which you have just heard” (Luke 4:16-21). In other words: I am the man of whom the prophet Isaiah speaks: “… everyone in the synagogue was seized with anger. They arose and drove him out of the city and led him to the precipice of the mountain on which their city was built, and from there they sought to throw him down” (Lk. 4:28-29).

What has changed in 20 centuries about Jesus? A lot and nothing! Reverence for Christ has remained. There are still and will be many faithful Christians who will not be like the inhabitants of Nazareth. But it makes one wonder if our attitude toward Christ is not like that of the inhabitants of Nazareth.
We have grown accustomed to Christ, and we have grown accustomed to religion. We have lost the real .

We have lost the fundamental notion that faith is not a matter of habit, of tradition. Many have not understood that one cannot live on the past in faith. Faith is a living thing; therefore, words do not apply: It comes from a good Christian family. Parents have passed away, and children attend church only on major holidays. … Such a practice is a misunderstanding of Christ; and Christ Himself. And when Christ says to them, “I want what belongs to me,” they are willing to cast Christ out, to condemn them to death. Nor does the statement, “When I was young, I went to church, I was baptized… Whoever speaks like this is like the inhabitants of Nazareth, who are already driving Christ out of the city to kill Him.

Let’s use a simile. You call a man a friend who needs you only for his own ends, and when you need something, he doesn’t know you… No, that’s not a friend; that’s selfish! When someone requires Christ and the Church only for himself and is unwilling to fulfill his duties, he also cannot be called a friend of Christ because he has condemned himself.

Yes, Jesus loved his countrymen. Jesus loves everyone, but he does not drag anyone by force after him.

Every machine requires an inspection, a checkup, and a dress rehearsal. Every warehouse, store, and office requires an inventory and inspection. Something similar is needed in our spiritual life. Let us use this time to reflect on our relationship with our souls, God, and the Church. Man differs from animate and inanimate nature in his reason and free will. And he needs to show this to those around him with his heart and life. We need to make a change. Consider that for us it must be an encounter with Christ, as it is in this case.

The French writer Roger Martin du Guard wrote the novel Jean Barcis. Jean fell away from his faith in his youth because he couldn’t reconcile it with his studies in the natural sciences. He renounced his faith and became the editor of The Sower magazine. He married Cecile, a believer, and they had a daughter, Mary. After a time they separated for religious reasons. The court awarded the girl to her mother. They agreed that when the daughter turned 18, she would spend a whole year with her father.

Mary came to live with her father and lived in his villa for a year. The father told her at the beginning: “Daughter, this is all yours. I have just one request: read all my articles in which I have proved scientifically that God does not exist.” Mary promised and read her father’s articles for an entire year. After a year, her father asked her: “So what do you say to my articles?”
“Dad, I read everything carefully and thought a lot about them. I found you very capable and gifted in style, and I’ve read nothing better in this area, professionally. Allow me, Father, in conclusion, to make one request. Let me, Father, enter the monastery.

Barcis jumped up. But Mary continued, ‘I knew you had lost your faith in your youth. I wanted to know and study your works and be confirmed in my vocation, and your scholarly articles against God convinced me that my place was with God.”
Father interrupted her abruptly. He presented her with dogma against faith, reasons for unbelief, the comparative origins of religion, and searched spasmodically for something else to show her.
Mary, however, calmly replies: “Father, I have read everything carefully and thoughtfully. And my faith has been strengthened still more. When even your reasons could not take away my faith, I believe all the more firmly.” “How is that possible?” Barcis asks.
And the daughter tells how she met God and felt his nearness and beauty.
“Father,” the daughter continues, “you have trusted only in reason, and what can be proved by reason stands like a stone pillar.”
The father felt his life’s work, and convictions, crumble into dust in an instant.
The novel ends with Jean Barcis returning to God and Mary reconciling her father and mother, and they escort her to the convent together.

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