4 Aug 2017
There’s the saying: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” And that’s what we see in the gospel today. Jesus is unable to teach people “in his native place.” They were too familiar with him; they knew him as a child, they knew his parents Mary and Joseph, they knew he was just the son of a carpenter. They knew Jesus too well (or, they thought they did) for them to respect Jesus as someone they could learn from. Familiarity breeds contempt.
In our own faith lives there can be a tension between Jesus our Friend, and Jesus the Lord and Son of God. For example, when we hear a challenging word from Jesus—either in Scripture or through the mouth of a preacher—do we reject it because “that’s not really what Jesus would say; Jesus is too close a friend to challenge me in that way.” Or do we take his challenging words as coming from Jesus, Lord and God?
Another example is in the idea of “reverence.” Jesus is the Lord, Second Person of the Trinity, and we bow and genuflect to him, as we should. But he’s also our most faithful and intimate Friend and Companion. Is it not also reverent to smile when we think of Jesus, or to even have some “warm fuzzies” come into our heart when we realize again how much we are loved by him.
Familiarity breeds contempt; it closes us off to the whole reality of who Jesus is. As much as we know Jesus, it’s good to maintain a healthy sense of curiosity about him. May we not become so familiar with Jesus that we stop listening to him, either as a close Friend, or as the majestic Son of God that he is.