Our Church is often over-enthusiastic in preaching the attractiveness of Jesus and the attractiveness of our Catholic faith. Nevertheless, Jesus and His Church are not attractive to everyone.

Today’s Gospel story describes a situation where Jesus is rejected, not by strangers, but by his own townfolk. This story is a reminder to us all that the ministry of Jesus, a ministry we are all asked to emulate, can be a great threat to the status quo of the world in which we live.

Jesus was a threat to the status quo of his own home town. How could an ordinary carpenter’s son have the affrontery to tell the people with whom he had grown up that they needed to believe in a just, loving and merciful God; rather than a vindictive and judgmental God? Jesus challengers the very core of their belief in God. He challenged the status quo of his own world. “If God is just, merciful and non-judgmental”, he said to his old friends, “then we in our turn must be just, mercifully and non- judgmental towards each other – Even our enemies”. His world rejected that message because, for them, to be just, merciful and non-judgmental was to be very vulnerable.

Our world finds this image of God very difficult also, Hence, we who believe in a just merciful and non judgmental God, which we do, must face the fact that we will always be vulnerable to critics who see us as non conformists in the modern world but it’s the only way to live.

Rev Fr Tom Stevens