They were astonished and said,
“Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?
Is he not the carpenter’s son?
Is not his mother named Mary
and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?
Are not his sisters all with us?
Where did this man get all this?”
And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and in his own house.”
And he did not work many mighty deeds there
because of their lack of faith. (Mt 13:54-58)
The villagers said among themselves: “We know this Jesus, he’s the son of Joseph the carpenter; we’ve known him his whole life.” And, Matthew tells us, “they took offense at him.” The Greeks says “They were scandalized by him.” A skandalon is a stumbling block. Their supposed familiarity with Jesus became a stumbling block that tripped them up so that they could not understand his words clearly nor see the wonders he was performing.
THE “VILLAGERS’ VISION” PROBLEM
So this afternoon in my village of Newark Abbey I tried to overcome my “villagers’ vision” by attempting to see each of my brothers (or colleagues or students) as someone whom Jesus loves so much that He’s willing to die for them, as someone who is infinitely precious and loveable in God’s eyes. It was actually a beautiful exercise – I tried it on a couple of my brothers at mass this afternoon. How different someone looks when you see them through God's eyes! How different their words sound!