Friday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
The Lord lives in every man
He came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. They were astonished and said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.” And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith. Mt 13,54-58
Among his relatives and in his homeland, Jesus is rejected as Messiah, because he is “a cause of scandal”. “He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him”(Jn 1,11). Why is he refused and why is he the cause of the scandal? It is essential to answer to this question. For “his own” and his own people it is difficult to admit that the made signs and the revealed truth by Jesus have divine origin. What they cannot understand, however, is the fact that the ultimate revelation of the God’s mystery has incarnated in a real person, about whom they know everything: the origin, the family, the job and the social status. The real scandal, for “his own” and for the man of every time is that the Word of God has turned into flesh: “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (Jn 1,14). The paradox to be accepted, to have access to the faith, lies in the fact that God meets the man and the man meets God in a real person. Why must it be a man and not God himself to reveal to me the divine thought? This was the hindrance for the citizens of Nazareth and it is the same hindrance which risks to stop us every time we stand before not only to the revealed Word, but also to an authentic witness of the Gospel. Our jump in the faith, however, with the everyday life passing by, is even more difficult than the one of Jesus’s fellow citizens: we are called to recognize the Lord’s face not in the exceptional nature of the saint, but in normal nature of the man we meet every day along the road. This is the scandal for us. The man is always looking for exceptional signs in the heaven or on the earth, but he is not able to catch the simple everyday signs and to give them a divine meaning. The Gospel asks us, on the contrary, to wisely seek the presence of God who shows up in the events and the people of each day. It is difficult for everyone to see this presence in the monotony of some days, in the suffering, in the struggle and in the pickpocket who tries to take our wallet out of the pocket in the underground. But this is the goal of our faith. The moment of the eucharist, as well as one of the spiritual retreats, is important but only because it allow us to meet the Lord in a new way in the everyday life. I will always remember the exclamation of one of my fellows at the military officer’s course at the barracks of Cecchignola, in Rome. While he was praying in his bed, at night, I told him something inappropriate to him, or I bothered him with one of my usual jokes. The fact is that he exclaimed: “You do not deceive me, there is God in you, too”. It was true. God was in me, but there was also the man who was not able to accept that his friend was capable to make with simplicity what I was unable to do.