Today’s first reading is from the book of Leviticus. Many people will try reading the Bible from cover to cover. They’ll get through Genesis and Exodus just fine, but then comes Leviticus and splat! They just can’t get it. So they quit. Leviticus if filled with all kinds of rules and regulations that the Israelites were to follow. This is why the Church bypasses most of Leviticus in the liturgy. Much of it is not overly relevant in the story of salvation. But today we hear about a number of festivals that the Israelites were to keep; ones that Jesus also kept.
In the Gospel reading from Matthew 13, Jesus goes back to his native place. The people there had seen and heard of his mighty deeds and his teachings. But they were still skeptical. They question. (I paraphrase here:) Wait...we know this guy! Who does this guy think he is? He couldn’t possibly be anyone special! And Jesus says to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.” How true, eh?
Perhaps you’ve even experienced this same type of skepticism. You’re developing your relationship with God, and you begin sharing that with others. But they question your authenticity. Oh, they say, we’ve known you for a long time. We know where you’re from. Don’t try to pull that “holier than thou” stuff on us! We know better! It happens. Jesus told us it would. But don’t let the naysayers get in your way. You keep developing your relationship with Christ! Whether they come around or not is completely up to them.
Father, help us not to get discouraged when others doubt our faith. Help us to love them and forgive them as we continue to grow closer to you. And use us to draw them closer to you. Amen.
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