Jeremiah 26:1-9; Ps 69 Lord, in your great love, answer me; Matt 13:54-58
"They took offense at him."
This was the reaction of those from Jesus home town. They took offense at him. Why? Why take offense at a local boy?
I go to the local prison every tuesday. In fact, there are a group of guys of partake in this ministry. They hold classes on tuesday and thursday evening. I hear confessions and celebrate mass on tuesday afternoon. We have quite a team of those who gee of their time to be with these men.
I am blessed to part of such a group.
But when i speak of going to prison and visiting with these men, there are quite a few folks who turn their nose up. They take offense to these men who have been locked up.
I tell them that i think it is a shame that their is no air on the dorms for them. Most people respond that they guys are simply getting what their deserve. They don't need air.
I point out that in south texas the temperature in the dorms can reach 110-120 degrees. Again, they don't seem to care.
The same response given: they get what they deserve.
Then I remind them that these men do have conversions. That many them regret the choices they have made and the consequences as well. Yet, the same reaction follows as stated above.
They refuse to let the men become better than they remember. They hold these men prison to the past, the past actions and they refuse to admit that they can change or get better. So they take offense at them.
It is similar in today's gospel. The citizens of Jesus' native place refuse to let Jesus be better than they remember. They let the past dictate the present rather than open their hearts to God's grace.
Or perhaps they refuse to admit that they aren't that good. They refuse to acknowledge that they are worse than they recall.
Either way their hearts are closed to God's invitation.
There is a perversity of the human heart that wants to keep others at a lower level lest they outshine us in some way. St Thomas describes it as envy, "the refusal to rejoice in the goodness of the other."
Perhaps all of us have touch of envy. Perhaps all of us refuse to let others be better than we remember. Perhaps all of us think ourselves better than we are.
All of which points to the need for a redeemer. We need our memories and how we remember to be purified daily. Perhaps this is why Jesus ask us to "do this in remembrance of me." The one good memory is meant to purify all other memories and open up a path way of hope for us and for others.
God is never done. Grace is always active. Our judgment of another or even of ourself is always flawed because it is never complete; that belongs to the judgment of God alone.