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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Can Anything Good Come Out of Nazareth? ~ Reflections on this Sunday''s Reading (Anglican Lectionary)

Second Sunday after Epiphany, Year B
You'll find this week's gospel reading at the end of this post.
"Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"...

It gets me every time, that line. Popular prejudices almost diverted one as good hearted as Nathaniel, from recognizing the Messiah.

How much more am I predisposed to judgment and blindness?

Nazareth was not a well regarded place.  Surely nothing good, honorable, valuable,...holy...could come from there.

Living in California, we are surrounded by a multitude of cultures and socio-economic groups. Prejudices abound.  I suppose that it is true that every prejudice comes from somewhere...but every prejudice is not validly apply to every member... or perhaps, even most members...of the group against which it is levied.

What good things am I, ...are we, missing by allowing prejudices and assumptions to cloud our vision?

I'm not going to pretend that it is not true that sometimes, generalizations are protective.  There are parts of Los Angeles that I had best not travel in when we head down in that direction, and that is just the truth.  Gang style clothing means something.  It is a dangerous world in which we live, and, egalitarianism is all well and good, when there are not children to protect. But, automatically applying prejudice to individuals without thought, is also a great danger.

I am commanded to love.  Jesus did not spend his time with the upper echelon of society.  He extended his love and service to the lowest of its members.  It's a constant tightrope for me, making safe choices...shielding my daughter from people who will not make the best associates for her...but fulfilling the commandment to love one another.

I suppose part of the answer is that, while Nathaniel made an assumption, he then opened his mind, and found a treasure.  When he discovered that his assumption had been incorrect, he dropped it...and gained the whole world.  So, one had best not drop her assumptions indiscriminately, but, still, drop them hard and fast, after careful analysis, when they need dropping.

The reading this week focuses on the calling of the disciples.  Jesus has been born, he has been revealed to the world, and now he gets to work.  The time is short, and he has much to do.  He calls the chosen to follow him.  He, to follow him.  It is up to us to drop our preconceived notions...about ourselves, about others, about what it is that we ought to be about...and respond to that call.  There is much to be done friends...let's keep walking!


The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, "Follow me." Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth." Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, "Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!" Nathanael asked him, "Where did you get to know me?" Jesus answered, "I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you." Nathanael replied, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" Jesus answered, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these." And he said to him, "Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." ~ John 1:43-51

Pax Christi,
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  1. Thanks for visiting my blog and for your comment! I enjoyed your reflection here. Let's keep walking!

  2. Commanded to love. Sometimes it's easy and others --well, not so much. My heart strives for obedience and when I freely love, Jesus is beside me pouring out His love, too.

  3. Michelle thanks for linking up with Home of the Hmm...ily! I see, as you mentioned, our lectionary readings are different this week. I did notice that our scripture from John 1:35-42 and yours right after with verses 43-51 both include the phrase "Come and see".

    I really appreciate your points about making assumptions. While it is necessary to be prudent and use good judgment, we need to be careful not to simply accept conclusions based on common opinion or generalizations. Or gossip! Instead we must "come and see" for ourselves.

  4. Yes, we can learn from this example in the Bible not to judge everybody by the reputation of an area. Thank you for sharing this thought provoking post.

  5. I love how you arrive here: "...while Nathaniel made an assumption, he then opened his mind, and found a treasure. When he discovered that his assumption had been incorrect, he dropped it...and gained the whole world."

    may our hearts be soft as clay.


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