In both of our readings today, we see and hear that prophets get “dissed.” In Jeremiah 26, our first reading, we see Jeremiah saying everything that God tells him to say. The people’s response? “You must be put to death!” Gee, that’ll make you want to open your mouth next time, won’t it? Then in the Gospel reading, the people from Jesus’ native place brush him off, because they “know” him.
Jesus says, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.” Why is that? I’m sure you’ve heard the old axiom “Familiarity breeds comtempt.” Perhaps that saying is something of a definition of these words of Jesus. The people knew where he was from, knew his family. How could he possibly be anyone special?
When we exercise our prophetic ministry, we have one or two strikes against us right off the bat. First,we are familiar. Our family, our friends, our fellow parishioners – they all know us. We couldn’t possibly be speaking God’s words. They know what sinners we are. Second, the message of a prophet is unpopular. Who likes to be told to repent? That would mean acknowledging that one has sinned. Can’t have that! Jeremiah and Jesus did and said all that God asked them to. Not because they wanted to win a popularity contest. They did it because they were faithful and obedient. When the heat is on, will the same be said of us?
Father, may we be obedient and faithful to you always. Help us to do all that you ask, only because you ask it. Amen.