Jesus Was Rejected Too

July 4, 2021   Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Lectionary: 101)

Reading I   Ez 2:2-5
As the LORD spoke to me, the spirit entered into me
and set me on my feet,
and I heard the one who was speaking say to me:
Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites,
rebels who have rebelled against me;
they and their ancestors have revolted against me to this very day.
Hard of face and obstinate of heart
are they to whom I am sending you.
But you shall say to them: Thus says the LORD GOD!
And whether they heed or resist—for they are a rebellious house—
they shall know that a prophet has been among them.

Responsorial Psalm   Ps 123:1-2, 2, 3-4
R. (2cd) Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
To you I lift up my eyes
who are enthroned in heaven —
As the eyes of servants
are on the hands of their masters.
R. Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
As the eyes of a maid
are on the hands of her mistress,
So are our eyes on the LORD, our God,
till he have pity on us.
R. Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
Have pity on us, O LORD, have pity on us,
for we are more than sated with contempt;
our souls are more than sated
with the mockery of the arrogant,
with the contempt of the proud.
R. Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.

Reading II   2 Cor 12:7-10
Brothers and sisters:
That I, Paul, might not become too elated,
because of the abundance of the revelations,
a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan,
to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.
Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me,
but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for power is made perfect in weakness.”
I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses,
in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.
Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults,
hardships, persecutions, and constraints,
for the sake of Christ;
for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Alleluia   Cf. Lk 4:18
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   Mk 6:1-6
Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, “Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.

By Jenna McAndrew 

What image of Jesus comes to mind when you hear or read His name? Do you see the crucified Jesus? The baby Jesus? Jesus preaching on a mountain? When I hear the name “Jesus,” I see Him riding into Jerusalem on a donkey on Palm Sunday.

I can see Him in the scene, smiling wide, waving to the people, probably even laughing and singing hymns.

I see Him as the people saw Him in that moment: a king and a prophet.

At times, it is easy for me to remember that Jesus was only perceived that way a handful of times during His ministry. More often than not, He was shunned by the synagogue and Temple elite, rejected by the towns He visited, and treated like an outcast. As we read in today’s Gospel, even the people He grew up around in His hometown village of Nazareth see Him as a nobody. “Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary?”

Nazareth was a very small farming village in Galilee where everyone would have known everyone.

Nothing significant ever happened there.

As someone says in John 1:26, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” These people, who would have seen Jesus on a daily basis as He was growing up, learning, and working, reject Him simply because they are shocked and unbelieving at the wisdom and authority with which He teaches in the synagogue.

Ezekiel’s hardship as a prophet in the first reading foreshadows the rejection Jesus experiences in the Gospel. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians in the second reading also shows us that He experiences hardship because of the “thorn” given to Him by God that warranted “insults” and “persecutions.”

Jesus’s hometown neighbors should be the ones embracing Him, saying, I knew Him when He was just a little kid, and now look at Him, healing people of their illness and speaking with the wisdom of God!

Jesus probably expected these people to be proud that someone from their little town where “nothing good” happens was, at the very least, teaching with authority in a synagogue. But the Nazareans’ hearts are hardened like those of the Israelites that Ezekiel preaches to in the first reading. Jesus is “amazed at their lack of faith.”

Jesus understands what it is like to be rejected by those who are supposed to love you unconditionally.

He is there with me in the moments I feel unaccepted or misunderstood by those who know me best. Even Jesus’s Apostles could not know everything about Him all the time. There was so much that Jesus had to keep to Himself for the sake of the plan that had to unfold in His perfect time. Jesus knew what it was like to go it alone.

He could have easily thrown in the towel and said, “Nevermind. No one appreciates what I’m doing, they don’t like me, they’re not listening to me.” But He sticks to the mission at hand, because He trusts that even in my human stubbornness and lack of faith, He can still redeem me and save me for eternal life.


Jenna McAndrew is the Director of Parish Services at a parish outside of Philadelphia and the host of A Shower of Roses, a weekly podcast which provides an explanation of the upcoming Sunday’s Mass readings. She has her Master’s degree in Religious and Pastoral Studies.  Jenna lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia with her wonderful, saintly husband, Paul.  She loves corgis, coffee, guitar, and writing music.  Follow her here or listen here.

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