Where Did This Man Get All This?

B Proper 09 danWe are always surprised—sometimes even shocked—when someone acts out of character. A shy, quiet person might speak out forcefully, publicly against an injustice. A reserved, serious person might some night be the life of a party. A person without higher education reveals eloquence, insight, and brilliance on a challenging topic. Persons acting out of character shake up the expectations that limit our responses to others. Shockingly, in this Sunday’s gospel Jesus encounters resistance and rejection “among his own kin and in his own house.” This, because Jesus’ words and deeds went beyond his neighbors’ under­standing of who he was (“the carpenter”). Jesus was acting way out of character for them.

This gospel challenges us to examine the limits of our own expectations about who Jesus is and what he can do for us. It challenges us to examine our own expectations of others and allow them the space to be who God is helping them become. God continually offers us what we need for salvation, but we often resist it. Our receptivity is key for hearing God’s word and receiving the salvation God offers.

God’s interventions to bring us salvation are always extraordinary, but most often come in ordinary and familiar circumstances. For example, a neighbor brings some homemade soup to us when we are sick; parents share their faith with their children; someone notices we are having a rough day and takes time to sit and listen to us. Ordinary people acting in such ordinary ways reveal to us who Jesus is—the mighty Savior still present to us and among us.