St. Stephen’s Catholic Church
July 5th, 2015
Dominica XIV Per Annum, Anno B
Our Blessed Lord went into His own country, i.e., Nazareth. He had grown up there. It was the hometown of St. Joseph who brought Mary up from Jerusalem to be his bride and settle down in Nazareth. After the Holy Family returned from Egypt, Jesus spent his mid-childhood up through his young adult life there, working side by side with St. Joseph. We look in upon the continuation of the Gospel today in the midst of Jesus’ public ministry. He returns to his own country, and His disciples follow Him. He teaches with wisdom and the people are offended by Him. Why are they offended? Let’s look back in time to see the origin of this scandal.
We know very little about the childhood of Jesus from the Gospels. We know that the Holy Family spent some time in Egypt and then returned to Nazareth by way of Jerusalem. We also know that at the age of 12, the Lord stayed behind in Jerusalem and conversed with the doctors of the Law in the Temple. At this young age, He manifested exceptional wisdom. Did the word of this get out? Did the people of Nazareth know about this child’s wisdom? We cannot say. But here we encounter Him as an adult manifesting His wisdom again. The people at the synagogue in His own hometown remark: “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!”
We too have been given the Holy Spirit, but in a greater way than Ezekiel and the prophets who only received that charism to accomplish the work of God as prophets. We receive the Holy Spirit through the sacramental life to dwell in our souls. That is what we call sanctifying grace. And when we are in a state of sanctifying grace, the Holy Spirit elevates our intellects to an understanding of divine wisdom. Sanctifying Grace prompts us to conform our wills to the will of the Almighty Father. We are given an infusion of the virtue of Faith to help us to belief all that God has revealed. We do not summon up that faith on our own. It is infused into us, and through sanctifying grace, we are able to assent to things that are beyond our natural capacity and our natural understanding. When we are filled with faith, we encounter rebellious people. We might think it is a coincidence, but we are sent to them, or perhaps they are sent to us so that we might exercise our vocation to speak the truth of divine wisdom. When we are baptized, we are anointed on the crown of our head and we enter into a participation with Christ in his threefold office of Priest, Prophet, and King. Today we speak particularly about that office of prophet. We participate in that prophetic office by speaking the objective truth of the Catholic faith in love. This is the truth that is not our subjective truth, but objective Truth who is Jesus Christ Himself. We speak His words of divine wisdom but we leave the mighty works to Him.
Perhaps our Catholic faith in its integrity will provoke others to take offense at us. That can be a real cross. It is a sorrow to be rejected by others, but in that sorrow, we are truly one with Jesus Christ because it is He whom they reject. We must remember that when others reject our Catholic Faith, they are not rejecting us, they are rejecting Him who sent us. We share in His rejection and we enter into the wounds of His Sacred Heart, pierced and rejected by the indifference of men towards His unfathomable love for them. Let us not worry about performing any mighty deeds, but in docility, we allow God to be Almighty. He will perform mighty deeds where He sees fit to do so. Let us merely persevere as we are sent to lovingly speak the truth of divine wisdom even to those who will reject us.