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14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted 11 Jul 2018, 11:45 by Our Lady of Fatima Church - White City London   [ updated 11 Jul 2018, 11:45 ]

Open your heart to God

Today’s Gospel describes one of the most painful experiences of Jesus’ life. He has begun his public ministry by showing his power over demons, serious illnesses, the raging wind and sea, even over death itself. Everyone is talking about this young Rabbi from Galilee with this extraordinary power and electric teaching. But now he returns to his home town of Nazareth – no longer as the carpenter’s son, but as a Rabbi with a band of disciples and a rapidly growing reputation as a miracle worker and preacher. What kind of welcome will he receive from his own people?

Rejection and ridicule. Closed hearts and closed minds. As we read: “And Jesus could no miracle there… He was amazed at their lack of faith.” I find those very powerful words – Jesus, in his humility, will not force himself upon those who do not want to accept him. The Latin word, credere, meaning “to believe”, comes from cordare, “to give your heart”. This is what the people of Nazareth would not do – give or open their hearts to Jesus. The kind of kingdom Jesus was preaching was not the sort of kingdom they wanted to hear about, because it demanded of them repentance and conversion ie. change! This meant no more business as usual, no more staying in the comfort zone of same old, same old... They didn’t like the message so they rejected the messenger.

What can Jesus’ experience in Nazareth say to us today, 2000 miles away and 2000 years later? Human nature hasn’t changed – we still like to follow the easy way, the well-trodden path which often means our way and not God’s. We don’t like to recognise our need for change. God wants to give us so much, but so great is his respect for our freedom, that he waits for us to open ourselves to him. Jesus comes amongst us today, here and now – in what ways do I reject him? How is he challenging us to change and open our hearts fully to him?

With blessings & prayers - Fr Richard, Fr Ephrem, Julia & the parish team