A Reminder That Jesus is at Home in Each of Us
“We give him thanks for having revealed his name to us, for the gift of believing in it, and for the indwelling of his Presence in us.” (CCC 2781)
In Sunday’s Gospel, Christ said, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” The reading notes that Our Lord “was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them,” and that “He was amazed at their lack of faith.”
After reading this Gospel, the celebrant gave an excellent homily. He urged Christians to recognize the gifts of Christ which surround us in His Church. The priest compared this to Washington, D.C.-area residents who frequently do not visit monuments and museums to which people from around the world flock — because it’s nearby. Familiarity breeds not contempt, but a lack of appreciation.
The homily forced me to reflect on two flaws which I’ve identified in my own Catholic path.
First, it’s not just the sacraments of the Church which Christ left for us. There are also the graces from God which these gifts provide to us.
Yet all it took to challenge my trust in God earlier this year was the threat of a job loss. All of the aforementioned graces were effectively rejected by my emotional reaction.
What a foolish application of free will, to reject the Holy Spirit’s guidance which baptism put in my soul.
Second, many Americans spend hours online each day. Do we welcome Jesus into our home by rejecting pornography and excess time on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and cat videos? Do we welcome his wisdom which we can access through the Bible, thousands of interpretations, Mass and more online? Or do we ignore the opportunities at our fingertips because — like so many other good things in American Christian life — it’s too familiar to be appreciated?
This failure to truly appreciate God’s provision of modern life’s conveniences has left us not only bereft at home, but also in the Church. Many Americans view Africa as a mission destination, but it is African priests who are coming to America to evangelize and renew our Christian culture.
Our failings are human; his forgiveness is divine. Taking the time to appreciate what he gives us — from computers to graces to suffering — is to allow familiarity to breed gratitude and trust.