Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

A few years ago, Julio Iglesias sang a beautiful song, a very sad song, it was called: ‘me olvide de vivir’ – I forgot how to live’.  It talks about a man who was so taken up by his success,  and his ambition that he forgot the most important things in his life.  He lost his great opportunity, he lost his hapiness. Another great songwirter, Paul Simon in 1965 wrote a song called ‘The Sound of silence.’ The song ends with these haunting words: ‘And the people bowed and prayed, to the neon God they made,  and the sign flashed out its warning, in the words that it was forming,  and the sign said:  ‘The words of the prophets, are written on the subway walls, and tenement halls,  and whispered the sound of silence’.  In today’s gospel, we also read about a lost opportunity. Jesus returns back to Nazareth,  we can imagine how happy he must have been, to go back home to his  family, his neighbours, his friends, to the people he grew up with.  He wants to bring them the good news, he wants to make them happy.  But when they hear him they are not impressed.  They do not hear the good news,  they do not see the Son of God.  They only see the carpenter.  They remarked: ‘who does he think he is. This could have been a moment of grace for them,  Perhaps the implications of the good news were just too challenging for them,  coming from one of their own. They could have been the first people to hear the good news and to transmit it to others.  With great sadness, Jesus has to leave Nazareth;  and he leaves with the famous expression,  ‘a prophet is ony despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house’. The people of Nazareth lost a great opportunity.  They have gone down in history as a people with hardened hearts, with closed hearts who could not listen to the words of Jesus. The lesson in the gospel for each of us is: We too can be like the people of Nazareth.  There may be times when we see only the carpenter,  when Jesus is just a  holy figure for us, but not who he really is. As indivduals and communities, we can be guilty of silencing certain voices. Personal prejudices and agendas can block us from listening to what another person has to say: who do they think they are? Jesus wants to be more than that, he wants to be our friend, our campanion, our saviour.  What a pity if we should leave Jesus on the sideline,  and not let him enter our lives.  What a pity if we should leave Jesus knocking at the door,  because we are too busy taken up with so many material and trivial pursuits. Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago who died a couple of years ago from cancer said: ‘I have come to realize that a lot of what consumes our life is trivial and insignificant.’  Today as we read this piece of the gospel, let us ask for the grace to see Jesus, not just as the carpenter,  to recogise the one who is speaking to us, to open our hearts and our minds.  Who do I really see? the Son of God my saviour,  or simply a capenter?