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Notes from Fr. Vitalis

He Was Rejected By His People.


Dear Parishioners,

The homecoming of Jesus to his native village did not go very well. Since he began his public ministry that made him so famous, Jesus did not return to his native village until this moment. His fellow villagers had heard of his famous teachings and many miracles. He was popular, in many ways, a local hero. However, his popularity did not translate into acceptance from his own people.

On the Sabbath after his arrival in Nazareth, he was given the honor to read the scripture in the Synagogue. His teaching was met with skepticism and reservations. At first, they were amazed at his youthfulness, authority, and wisdom. Later they began murmuring back and forth as they ridiculed his family’s background. Their astonishment turns into a scandalized reaction. They began to question the source of his power and wisdom. They knew him from infancy. They saw him at work as a carpenter. They knew his mother and the entire family. He grew among them. They knew when he left them to be baptized by John the Baptist. They must have concluded that he was too ordinary for them. Therefore, how can he speak for God they assumed.

Jesus was aware of their indignation and close mindedness. He was sad for them. He said to them that “No prophet is without honor excerpt in his native place, among his own kindred, ad in his own house.” It was unfortunate that his friends and relatives could not rid themselves of their earlier image of him and see the things God was doing with him. They could not imagine that God could choose someone from among them to be his own as God’s chosen one.

How often do we find ourselves in similar situations? When we allow jealousy, pride, envy and intolerance to blind us. When we are not open to new things. When we hold on to those traditions that do not give life and hope to people. When we insist only on those things that profit us. This week, as we celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, we are mindful of the many challenges that faces our nation. We are also grateful for the bountiful blessings God has poured on our nation. Let us pray that God will heal our brokenness and remove the scourge of racial discrimination and indifference that are destroying us.

The scandal of the rejection of Jesus offers a lesson to us. It teaches us not to allow disappointment and failure we experience consume us. It is encouraging to know that it was endured painfully before us.  “Rejection is a very difficult thing to handle. It strikes at our sense of self-esteem, which is only a smite less forceful than that of self-preservation.” Like St. Paul who recognized his limitation as a thorn in his flesh yet remained positive and hopeful. He did not allow criticism, rejection and opposition that came his way to define him or discouraged him.

Prophet Ezekiel speaks of rebellious people to whom God send his prophet. “So long as they are “hard of face and obstinate of heart,” they certainly will not be able to get the message. Yet God does not stop sending them the witnesses they need.” Let us not be part of such a scandal. Negativism and cynicism are cancers to love. They have no place among God’s chosen people. We know our weaknesses. But God writes straight with crooked lines. Saint Paul reminds us that “it is in the ground of human weakness that the seed of God’s strength takes root.” We do not always succeed. But with the right motives and a believing heart we never really fail.


God’s Peace To You,

Fr. Vitalis Anyanike, Pastor