Friday, February 1, 2019

A prophet is not welcome in his hometown

As the Mom of three children, I have often said that I have enjoyed my children at each age and stage of their lives.  Every stage has challenges and blessings and I continue to see that in our family’s current stage.  My children are 9, 12, and 13 and I call it a sweet spot.  They are independent, free from nap time and diapers, but still not driving and spending large amounts of time away from my husband and I.   I know the clock is ticking and although I am sure that I will enjoy the next stage as well, I worry about launching these three into the world out of the cocoon of our home and where they will need to make decisions on their own.  Will they live as we have taught them?  Will love conquer all?  Have I loved them well enough and given them the tools to prosper in the world? While I worry about these things, each day I feel a little more like Jesus in today’s Gospel.  “ prophet is accepted in his native place.”  Just a few years ago my kids turned to me with every questions concern and decision and my word was uncontestable.  But little by little the uncontestability of my word is waning.  Jesus' statement that no prophet is accepted in his home town reminds us that it is often difficult to hear a challenging message from those who know us best, even if it is true. Perhaps we remember and even regret this aspect of our own adolescence. It’s my job to teach my children values and right from wrong and how to make decisions but I know I did exactly the opposite of my parents’ advice on more than one occasion and of course I regretted it.  I try to convince myself that this developmental stage is a natural part of life!  Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it any easier and often drives me to frustration where I try to force my kids to hear me and hear my perspective the way they did in earlier stages of life.    But I know as time goes on my voice is only one among many and it may not be the coolest or the most current way of thinking in their opinion.    I will continue to offer a perspective that is often in contrast to the culture.  Despite my frustration, I know I will never give up trying. I will continue to try to be a prophet in my native land. Not surprisingly, unlike me, Jesus responds with calm and grace and the folks “rose up, drove him out of town…”  Jesus wasn’t the Messiah they expected.  They were not going to accept teaching on a new way of life from the son of a carpenter. They were challenging him.  They wanted to expel him from town and potentially kill him if necessary.  I like to think of myself as above this.  I assure myself that obviously I would recognize Jesus as the Messiah if I were there and soaked in his teachings… But would I? Have I changed that much from my adolescent ways of assuming my parents didn’t know best? How different am I from my children?  Do I soak in Jesus’ teachings in all areas of life?  How many times have I considered the way of life Jesus has presented in the Gospels to me and done it my way instead?  How many times have I pushed Jesus away so I don’t have to struggle to follow His way?  I know better! I expel him from my heart and mind at times because it is easier! We call it sin… we expel Jesus from the town of our hearts and minds… luckily like a loving parent our Messiah never gives up.  He “calmly passes through” and continues to offer us chance after chance to accept his invitation and take his words into our hearts!  Luckily Jesus’ love is like the love of a parent.  It is patient and kind.  The second reading is all about Love and how true love wants the best for the other above ourselves.  It is that love that keeps me from giving up on my children despite their rejection and keeps Jesus from giving up on me (or us) when I reject him and true Gospel Living!

Reflection by Jeanne Cregan

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