What is it that makes Jesus' neighbors so mad at him
that they want to throw
him over the hill?
Some are truly amazed at the truth of his insights into
but others complain
that he isn't working those miracles
like he did in Capernaum.
He responds by telling them that
miracles require faith,
and he gives them two examples, neither of them
His friends and neighbors recognize the truth of what Jesus
knowing that those despised foreigners,
the Canaanites and the
have the deep faith they themselves lack.
They reject his
But he knew his mission,
so he stood up, told the truth,
went on his way doing what he was called to
Religion can bring out
the worst in people.
They think their dogma and their ritual makes them
They exclude people
and begin to think that God wants them
hate the “other”
and kill the
Just as the citizens of Nazareth forgot the commands of the
to “love the alien as yourself;
for you too were once aliens in the
land of Egypt,”
people today can forget the Great Commandment of
Religion can get distorted into fanaticism and
On the other
we know that religion can also bring out the best in people,
them to become more tolerant and loving.
We each have to ask ourselves what
religion brings out in us.
Our first reading, that stirring passage from
tells us that God has a mission for each one of us
that is only
ours to do.
Jeremiah also tells us that It won't be easy
but that we will
We are fortunate
here in Northwest Ohio
to be able to see the good that religion can bring out
We are blessed with many prophets among us.
Some of you know
Paul and Kathleen from Liberty Center,
who have left the snowy north for the
but not to vacation.
They are trekking through the southwestern
to leave caches of water and food
for desperate refugees from South
who cross into the United States at the risk of their
And some of you know Sandy and Lin in West Toledo,
fostering so many special needs kids
that I've lost count.
putting together an alternative to suspension for school
at the Padua Center.
And Marcia and Rose and hundreds of
lobbying to get the lead poisoning
out of the homes of the poorest
kids among us.
And Karen Shepler bringing our community together
ongoing dialogue to combat racism.
And Woody and Judy creating a way for
followers of every faith
to work together as a community of justice and
And, there's our own Tree Toledo,
scores of people planting
so future generations will have breathable air.
And then there's
prophets anointed by God
to bear the good news everywhere you
You're out there in the food pantries and the soup kitchens,
people in the hospitals and nursing homes
and at home and at
You're at the funeral home
comforting your friends when they lose
a loved one,
tutoring and coaching and cheering for your
donating to Rahab's Heart and disaster relief,
racing for the
and praying in the quiet of the morning
and the still of the
Like Jeremiah, like
have been anointed by God to prophesy to the nations.
at the world and speak out,
sometimes with words but more often with
and with that patient, kind love that Paul preached
Sometimes you suffer rejection for standing up and speaking
The rejection can take different forms;
it can be personal or
situational or social or cultural.
You could be passed over for promotion or
you could be bullied or beat up,
betrayed by the people you trust
or just plain ignored
when you try to do what's right
speak up about something that's wrong.
But you do it
God has given each
as the poet Mary Oliver describes it,
this “one wild and precious
and charged each of us with a unique mission.
It's unique because we
each have different gifts to bring to it;
but it's the same for all of
we are all sent to love:
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington