Well it’s good to be back with all of you.  I’ve just returned from a remarkable pilgrimage, where I was able to spend five days traveling and praying in the Holy Land.  We obviously saw the holiest places in Jerusalem, but we were also able to travel up the Sea of Galilee and Capernaum, which we hear about in today’s gospel.  Capernaum was a busy trading area, if I remember correctly from our guide, and the people that Jesus spoke to there were often resting on their way along the Sea Road.  They would carry what they learned from him much further than Jesus himself could go, and traveling as they were they were interested in new things.  I myself tried more new food than I ever thought I would while I was traveling over there (it was my first time trying shwarma.  I had no idea it was so good!)

In contrast to Capernaum, Nazareth is a bit of a backwater.  The people there have little need to travel.  They seem to have little interest in new ideas, or in seeing things differently.  So when Jesus returns, they are unwilling to see him as he is.  They are unwilling to be changed by his teaching.  Instead, they seem to think he belongs to them and that he has an obligation to do miracles for them.  Maybe you had a similar experience once coming home from school or the military or being away a long time.  Not only is this not how this works, it’s not likely Jesus even can, as he often states his miracles require some faith from the person receiving them.

Jesus points out that God has done many amazing things for people in strange and foreign places, and he does not limit himself to helping the people closest at home.  In fact, sometimes he seems to ignore them.  This is because God’s love takes risks to travel to strangers.  It doesn’t stay home all the time where things are safest.

Sometimes we too can become stuck in the routine and the familiar.  But we don’t have to travel to the Holy Land to be reminded of God’s love for us, and we don’t have to suffer a long plane ride to find people who need good news.  Even if those at home won’t listen, there are other places that God’s love can bear fruit.

Peace ~ Fr. Dan