Homily for the Memorial of St. Ignatius of Loyola

When Jesus returned to His home at Nazareth, the people there recognized Him as the son of Joseph, the carpenter, and whose mother, Mary, and whose brothers and sisters were known to them. He was one of them, a working man just like them. Yet, in many ways, He is not like them at all. The people of Nazareth were astonished at His wisdom and His miraculous powers. They could not understand from where He would get all that. They were perplexed by Him.

 

Jesus was both ordinary and extraordinary. As we have been taught, He was like us in every way, but sin. He was fully human, yet the wisdom and power of God were at work within Him. St. John expressed it succinctly when he said at the beginning of his gospel that the Word became flesh.[1] He was “flesh” like all of us, fully human, the son of a carpenter, from a particular place in Galilee who lived at a specific time in history. Yet, this man uniquely revealed God. That is the “scandal” of the Incarnation that so troubled the people of Nazareth.

 

The son of the carpenter, the son of Mary, is with us today as risen LORD in and through the familiar and the ordinary. He said to His disciples, “Whoever receives you, receives me;”[2] “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me;”[3] and, “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”[4]

 

The sacred and the temporal are not so far apart; we meet the sacred in the temporal, the divine in the human. We are always on holy ground.+

 

[1] John 1:14

[2] Matthew 10:40

[3] Matthew 18:5

[4] Matthew 25:40

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