As His reputation continues to grow, Christ returns to Nazareth to reveal Himself. A Nazarene who speaks Aramaic with a Nazarene accent, Christ desired that His own people of Nazareth would come to Him. As He teaches in the synagogue, He proclaims that He is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiah. While the people are first impressed, they begin to wonder about the source of Christ’s great wisdom. Their skepticism begins to grow as they recall that Jesus is the Son of Joseph (and Mary). Mysteriously, despite having the Son of God, the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph in their midsts for years, the people have failed to recognize Divinity and holiness.

In their hardness, the people are offended and reject God in their midst; they have disbelief, not just little faith. Christ, with sorrow and amazement at their lack of faith, condemns their disbelief (“a prophet is not without honor…”). He condemns their sinfulness, referring to Old Testament examples (Elijah, Elisha) of when God’s miracles were given to Gentiles, while Israel was shunned because of unfaithfulness.

Quickly, His own people of Nazareth go from being impressed to murderous. Christ allows the people to freely choose to condemn themselves; they drag Christ out of the city to a cliff and prepare to throw Him to His death. Always in control, Christ passes through the midst of the murderous crowd and departs, a demonstration of His mysterious personal power; it is unclear if Christ simply intimidates the mob with His powerful personality or if He performs a miracle.

1) Rather than the weak and feminized Jesus so often portrayed, Christ is a manly and intimidating figure who can strike fear in men and can make a murderous crowd back down.  Be awed.

2) The men of Nazareth refused to believe in Christ. During Lent, review the Church’s teaching about the Creed’s statement I believe (CCC 144-184) and pray for Christ to give you an unshakeable faith.

3) Today’s Gospel reference to St. Joseph reminds of the need for all Catholic men to have a devotion to St. Joseph, the patron saint of the Church and of fathers. During Lent, reflect upon St. Joseph (CCC 437, 531, 2177) and pray to St. Joseph, asking for his intercession on your behalf to Christ the King.