As His reputation continues to grow, Christ returns to His “own country” (the literal meaning of the Greek is “fatherland”) of Nazareth to reveal Himself. A Nazarene who speaks Aramaic with a Nazarene accent, Jesus desired that His own people of Nazareth would come to Him. As was His custom, Christ goes to the synagogue on the Sabbath.

As He teaches in the synagogue, the people are astonished (literally, “thunder-struck”). The people are awed by His mighty works and profound wisdom; they begin to wonder about the source of Christ’s great wisdom. Their skepticism begins to grow as they recall that Jesus is a simple carpenter, the son of Mary (presumably, St. Joseph has died) and the relative of other men and women from Nazareth; the brothers and sisters referred to are cousins – Jesus was the only child of Mary who remained a virgin her entire life (CCC 496-511).  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…”). Unconstrained by men (or their disbelief), Christ chooses to perform only a few healing miracles in Nazareth. Instead, Christ withdraws and begins to teach in the surrounding villages.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ speaks with power and authority that deeply moves people. Divine Mercy, Christ is mysteriously willing to remain hidden and to patiently accept rejection by His Creation.  Divine Prophet, Christ rebukes the people of Nazareth for their unbelief. Divine Physician, Christ defies the crowds disbelief and selectively heals several sick people.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Christ is confronted with resistance, disbelief and hostility and will be murdered by His Creation.  Be awed at Christ’s indomitable will and perseverance to overcome all obstacles in His desire to save all men.

2) Christ chooses to only miraculously heal a few of the sick in Nazareth due to men’s obstinate lack of faith; tragically, many men today shut themselves off from Christ’s many graces due to doubts and willful disbelief. To combat the temptation to doubt, pray to Christ to convert your heart and to help you grow in faith (CCC 2607-2616).

3) References to St. Joseph’s hometown of Nazareth is a good reminder about the need for all Catholic men to have a devotion to St. Joseph, the patron saint of the Church and of fathers.  As the feast of St. Joseph approaches (March 19), prepare with the traditional “Seven Sundays Devotion to St. Joseph” which started on last Sunday (it’s not too late!); find it on the internet or the Daily Roman Missal.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries

Daily Devotion – Saint Joseph

Virtue of the Day – Temperance

Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the imprisoned

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To comfort the sorrowful