(Adults, you could begin by reading the first paragraph of the reflection to the child, then read the Gospel, and then continue with the reflection.)
Last week we heard about Jesus returning to his hometown of Nazareth, the place where he grew up, the place where he belongs. Full of the Holy Spirit, Jesus reads the Word of God and all the people listen. This Sunday we hear what happens next. We hear what the people think.
Jesus went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom, and read from the prophet Isaiah. The eyes of all were fixed on him.
All the people look at Jesus. Their eyes are fixed on him. That means that they do not look away. They look only at Jesus. When we listen to the Word of God, are our eyes fixed on Jesus, too?
All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
When Jesus speaks, the people are so amazed. Their eyebrows lift as high as they can go! His words are so good.
They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”
The people know Jesus. This is his hometown; he belongs to Nazareth. They remember Jesus as a little boy, growing up as Joseph's son. When Jesus was little, he did not amaze them. Now, full of the Holy Spirit, Jesus amazes the people of Nazareth.
Jesus belongs to the people of Nazareth. This is where he grew up. He knows these people and they know him. But does Jesus belong only to the people of Nazareth?
you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’”
Jesus knows what the people are thinking. They are thinking, if Jesus can amaze them with his words, what else can he do? Perhaps he will amaze them in other ways, too. The people are beginning to want to keep Jesus here, in his hometown. They want to keep him all to themselves.
Jesus reminds them of two stories in the Bible. One is about a prophet named Elijah, the other is about a prophet named Elisha. Both prophets leave their hometown and go out into the world. Do the prophets belong to the world?
The prophets go out into the world to do God's work.
Perhaps then, they belong to God.
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit—who does he belong to?
We know he belongs to God.
The people of Nazareth do not like this. They think that Jesus does not want to belong to them. If he does not want to belong to them, they think, then he can just leave.
When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove Jesus out of the town
Oh my! Those poor people of Nazareth. If only they would listen longer to Jesus. They would have been amazed by these words:
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me
Jesus knows the people of Nazareth and they know him. They belong to each other.
Who else does Jesus know? Who else knows Jesus?
We know Jesus! Do we belong to him, too?
Jesus belongs to God, and we belong to him.
We are amazed by these words!