Jesus rebukes people of Nazareth for their lack of faith
In the Gospel of the day, Jesus rebukes the inhabitants of Nazareth for their lack of faith: at first, the Pope said, they listened with admiration, but later they exploded "with anger, with outrage":
"In that moment, this people, who had heard with pleasure what Jesus had said, but did not like what He had said to one, two, or three of them; and perhaps some gossip had stood up and said, 'But who is this who's come to talk to us? Where has he studied in order to say these things to us? Let's see his degree! This is the son of the carpenter, we know him.' Fury erupted, and even violence. 'And they drove Him out of the town, and led Him to the brow of the hill'… they wanted to throw Him down!"
Humility is God's style
The first Reading speaks about Naaman, the commander of the Syrian army, who was a leper. The prophet Elisha tells him to wash himself seven times in the Jordan to be healed, and yet Naaman was indignant because he expected a grand gesture. But then he listened to the advice of the servants, and did what the prophet said, and he was cleansed of leprosy. The inhabitants of Nazareth were like Naaman, the Pope said. "They wanted a spectacle," but "the style of the good God is not to produce a spectacle: God acts in humility, in silence, in the little things." This begins with Creation, the Pope said, where the Lord does not use a "magic wand," but creates man "with mud." It is a style that runs through "the whole of salvation history":
"When He desired to free His people, He freed them through the faith and confidence of a man, Moses. When He desired to cause the fall of the powerful city of Jericho, He did so through a prostitute. And for the conversion of the Samaritans He required the work of another sinner. When He invited David to fight against Goliath, it seemed crazy: the little David standing before that giant, who had a sword, who had so many things, while David had only a sling and the stones. When He told the Magi that a King was born to them, the Great King, what did they find? A little child, a manger. The simple things, the humility of God… this is the divine style, never the spectacle."
God works in humility, not spectacles
The Pope noted that "one of the three temptations of Jesus in the desert" was to create a spectacle. Satan invites Him to cast Himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple so that, seeing the miracle, the people might believe in Him. "The Lord, instead, is revealed in simplicity, in humility," he said. "It would do us good this Lent," the Pope said, "to consider how the Lord has helped us in our lives, and how the Lord has led us onward. We will find that the Lord has always done this with simple things."
He concluded, "This is how the Lord acts: He does things simply. He speaks silently to you, to the heart. Let us remember in our lives the many time we have felt these things: the humility of God is His style; the simplicity of God is His style. And even in the liturgical celebration, in the sacraments, what is beautiful is that which manifests the humility of God, and not the worldly spectacle. It would do us good to journey through our life and to consider the many times the Lord has visited us with His grace, and always with this humble style, the style He calls us, too, to have: humility."
I am a consecrated Christian solitary brother (CCC 920-921), serving the church in fraternal community with the Order of Preachers (Rom 11:17).
Please pray for us in our call and mission to serve God and His church. / The monks here depicted are of the eremitic Order of St. Jerome (Hieronymites) to whom I was introduced in Lisbon, Portugal through the 'Mosteiro dos Jeronimos' world heritage site.
The blog title page features an image of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne who gave their lives for the peace of God's people during the French Revolution's reign of terror.
Holy Carmelite Saints & Martyrs please pray for us +