Sunday, March 3, 2019


FEBRUARY 3, 2019

Jesus, I trust in you!

Jesus returned to Nazareth, his hometown. It was there where he grew up from the time he returned from Egypt until the time he began his public ministry. This is why his own townsfolk thought they knew him well. In Nazareth, Jesus’ childhood was quite ordinary. He played and studied like any other kid, with neither spectacle nor fanfare. He did not perform miracles as a child. He was no celebrity. He was not a child-star. He grew up as the son of a carpenter. He was obedient to Mary and Joseph.

That is why when they were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth when he preached in the synagogue, the first question they asked was “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?” This was the mark of ordinariness: Jesus was called the son of Joseph. Jesus’ divinity was a well-kept secret. Remember that it was only at the River Jordan where Jesus’ divinity was revealed by the Father who publicly called him “his beloved Son.” The people of Nazareth did not know that Jesus was the Son of God. As far as they were concerned, Jesus was simply the son of Joseph.

Here, we see how Jesus valued the ordinary life. For 30 years, he was a nobody. He was simply the son of Joseph. He was like us in all things except in sin. We often forget this reality. We claim that we find difficulty in imitating him because we keep on looking at his celebrity status during his public ministry when crowds followed him who performed signs and wonders. We keep forgetting that the public ministry of Jesus comprised only the last 3 years of his life. We keep forgetting that for 30 long years, the Son of God was simply known as the son of Joseph. We keep forgetting that he was like us in every way…yes, in every way except in sin.

St. Paul explains this excellence of the ordinary in the 2nd reading. He said: “Love is not pompous. It is not inflated. It is not rude. It does not seek its own interests. It is not quick-tempered. It does not brood over injuries. It does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Inasmuch as God is love, we must understand St. Paul’s hymn to love as referring to Jesus himself. Jesus is not pompous. He is not inflated. In other words, Jesus prefers the ordinary.

The ordinariness of Jesus’ youth became the hindrance to the faith of the Nazarenes. They failed to believe in him because they could not understand how someone so ordinary could speak words of great wisdom. Yesterday, on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Simeon spoke of the Child Jesus as becoming a sign that will be contradicted. Indeed, the words of the prophet came to pass in Nazareth. The people of Nazareth rejected him because they found it difficult to believe that someone so ordinary could be someone Divine. The place where Jesus grew in age and wisdom became the place where he would be rejected.

And oftentimes, our preference for spectacle becomes the hindrance to our faith. Waiting for big miracles, we fail to see the action of God in the ordinary things in life. Also, we wait for big opportunities to shine. And so we forget of the heroism of the ordinary. We are so engrossed with the celebrity mentality that we forget that love shines in the ordinary and in the forgotten. Let us not reject the ordinary for it is there where God manifests his presence. It is in the seeming weakness of the ordinary that God manifests his strength. It is in the ordinary where God manifests his constancy.

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

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