Lots of us will be headed out of town this weekend for family BBQ's celebrating the 4th of July.
In my family, the 4th was my dad's birthday, so we were always together, a tradition that continues today. This year, my dad's nephew, my cousin, (who was named after my dad!) is having us all over to his new summer house in Hampton Bays. Yay for him and double hurray for us!! I am looking forward to this family reunion to see cousins I don't get to see that often, especially the youngest who are 4 and 5 years old and live a few hours away. It will be fun to see them again and see how they've grown in the last year. One of the little ones was having some speech trouble...so I wonder how he's doing now. The little girl seems to be 'the boss' of the boys, and it's always amusing to watch her run the show. My older cousins have finished another year in college, have new girlfriends and boyfriends, so it will be fun to see how they are growing into adulthood too.
The Gospel this Sunday speaks about how Jesus was received when he went home to his 'native place'. As we hear the story, it is apparent that this home visit did NOT go well. His neighbors were not happy to see him. They perceived Jesus as being 'too big for his britches' it seems. They sound like jealous,unhappy people. Yes, they were 'astonished' at his teaching, but apparently not in a good way. They took offense at his sharing his learning, his ideas about who God his Father was. Wow. Talk about not seeing what's right in front of you! Jesus, scripture says, was "amazed at their lack of faith." That's pretty bad.
They just couldn't see him with new eyes. They could only see the little boy who grew up in their midst as the carpenters son. I wonder what kept them from rejoicing at their 'native son' having grown so well in holiness and wisdom. What kept them from proclaiming with pride 'he's one of us!' instead of the hurtful 'who does he think he is'? Ah, we are all broken humans at times aren't we? Just like St Paul speaks of in the second reading...we all have a sin or a weakness we wish we could conquer, could grow past, and yet somehow, that one thing, so often drags us down. Yet Paul reminds us, it is in our weakness that God gets to show his power, his greatness, his goodness.
So this weekend as we gather together with family and friends, let us celebrate how good it is to be together in love. Let's try to see each other with new eyes and let go of the past. The handsome young nephew who is 26, yes, was once that bratty 5 year old, but oh my goodness, look how nicely he's grown up! If we can see the good things that have blossomed in others, maybe they will be kind enough to see the goodness that has grown in us as well.