17th Week in Ordinary Time, Friday

Having a life-changing experience of faith is much like taking a journey: you learn so much, but those who haven’t made the journey and haven’t had the same experience don’t share the same enthusiasm. With our family and friends we’ve journeyed together for years; for some it’s been a journey of faith, for others just lives shared along the way. So when we make this sudden “journey” and experience of faith and conversion it’s understandable that they may be skeptical, even incredulous, when we change our life and suggest they change theirs. We should all be headed in the same direction–Heaven–and we need to help each other get there on the best path possible. If we think we know a shortcut, of course we’re going to try to share it. In the case of sharing the faith, it’s not just a question of faith in God, but our friends and loved ones having faith in us as well: a lack of faith in either will be an obstacle for them.

In today’s Gospel Jesus, who’s not only been to Heaven and back, but started there before he came here, is trying to share the faith with those he’s known and loved the most in his earthly life. They didn’t believe he was any more than the carpenter’s son they’d known for years. They’d heard he’d done amazing things, but they didn’t believe. His message was to repent and believe in the Gospel, and they were offended that someone they thought they knew since he was little should suggest something like that to them, independently of whether his words were true or not.

If this happened to Our Lord we shouldn’t be discouraged if we received the same skepticism from our family and friends when we try to share our faith with them. They may see us as arrogant, judgmental, even weird, but we must continue with patient endurance to help them see how much God means to us and wants to mean to them. Let’s ask Our Lord to open the hearts of those we love who are not living the Gospel so that they can make the journey of conversion and faith as well.

Readings: Leviticus 23:1, 4–11, 15–16, 27, 34b–37; Psalm 81:3–6, 10–11b; Matthew 13:54–58. See also 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B.