The Favorable Year of the Lord
In today’s Gospel Jesus comes back to His home town of Nazareth to “to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” The word in the original Greek for favorable is dektos which comes from word to welcome. Jesus announces that with His presence comes a season of incomparable kindness from God! With the return of Jesus to His home town He offers the warm welcome of His Father to the people with whom He grew up.
Nazareth was a small village of 3 or 4 hundred people. For about thirty years He lived here He must have known personally just about everyone. When He was a child, He played with them. As a young man He probably took hikes with them. Jesus was a great walker! He walked all over Galilee. He walked a number of times from Galilee to Jerusalem which is about 90 miles! As a carpenter they hired Jesus to fix things. A percentage of the village must have been cousins. We know there was no special word for cousins except brothers and sisters. “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” Mark 6:3 Jesus was among relatives and friends. For them it was cousin Jesus and aunt Mary!
It should have been a nice safe reception for the beginning of Jesus’s ministry. You would think the old timers would sit around the old spring and say: We knew this nice young man with great parents would be wonderful! Just the opposite was true. Not only did they reject Jesus as messenger of the Father, but even the finest human being that God made after His Son, Mary his mother! “And they took offense at him.”
How can you live as close to Jesus and still don’t know Him! Even Jesus “wondered at their unbelief” Mark 6:6 “Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown.” Can this not happen to all of us? Maybe after all the years I have lived near Christ, my relationship with Him might be cold and excluding. Do I love and care for Him more than anything else in the world? This is the year of mercy, “the favorable (dekos) year of the Lord”. Do I warmly welcome Him into my heart who welcomes me?
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.