Family Secrets

Challenge: Strengthen a problematic relationship with someone in your family.
by Matthew Reinhardt, Consecrated | Source:


September 1, 2008
Monday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 4: 16-30
Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, "Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing." And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, "Isn't this the son of Joseph?" He said to them, "Surely you will quote me this proverb, 'Physician, cure yourself,' and say, 'Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.'" And he said, "Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian." When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, send your Spirit down upon me because like you, I too am called to bring good tidings to the poor in spirit, to bring liberty to those enslaved in sin, to bring sight to those blinded by the evil of this world. Help me live a life acceptable to you so I can bring others your grace and mercy.

Petition: Lord, grant me the grace to seek your honor and glory over my own honor and glory.

1. Jesus Is Honored 
The director of the synagogue honored Jesus by asking him to read the Scripture and give the lesson on this particular visit to his home town. This honor was soon followed by an attempt on his life. Such is the whole life of Christ; he is a sign of contradiction. On Palm Sunday Jesus was honored and hailed the Messiah, but this was short-lived, and just five days later he was crucified. As followers of Christ we can expect moments of honor as well: being chosen to help out with a project for the Church, or being recognized in front of the congregation for a job well done. Let us not base our dignity on these passing honors, but rather be humble and ready for moments of persecution and rejection. In these moments we can show our true love for Christ.

2. Jesus Astonishes 
Jesus’ testimony astonished his fellow townsmen: “They all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.” Some of them rejected him, but surely others began to see something different in Jesus, a sign of hope which would develop into the gift of faith. How important and effective is the testimony of one’s life lived in accordance with Christ’s teachings. When we give this testimony – by speaking well of others and avoiding gossip, being open to life, putting in an honest day’s work and not cheating the system, etc. – we are quietly astonishing those around us and presenting to them a testimony that can engender faith and bring them to the same happiness we have found in Christ.

3. Jesus Is Rejected 
Imagine if you were at church and during the homily, the priest began to make known all the family secrets of the flock gathered to worship. You might witness, and even partake, in rejecting the priest as the Nazoreans rejected Christ. In some way this is what Christ did by speaking about Zarephath and Naaman, foreigners who knew God’s help at a time when Israel did not. Christ gave this tough example to those in the synagogue in order to attempt to stir up their faith by helping them see that he is not just the “son of Joseph” but the Son of God. Sometimes Christ wants to stir up our faith in order to strengthen it. Though they are difficult, let us not reject these moments of grace, but rather grow from them.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, through your example I can see that life is a continual fight. You were rejected by your friends, neighbors and probably even some family members. Help me imitate your Blessed Mother, who was always at your side both in good times and at the foot of the cross.

Resolution: I will strengthen a problematic relationship with someone in my family.


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