Fame & Fortune! “One of our own done good!” “They’re one of us, we’re very proud of them!”; ”They’ve brought great honour and prestige of the family, the local people here and the area as a whole!” Homegrown heroes and celebrities and the effects their fame and fortune have on their families and the people where they grew up! The validation, the affirmation bestowed is always huge, special and important!
What happens, though, when it doesn’t work out that way? When the issue that the local or family member is famous for or becomes known for, isn’t one that people want to hear about or deal with? Rejection; Disassociation; Repudiation, often follows, to varying degrees.
Whistleblowing, speaking up for the truth, being honest and holding people in power accountable for their actions or words, or both, is unfortunately all too often where they get shunned and a lot gets lost.
“MeToo!”; “Black lives matter!”; “Out & Proud!” Just 3 phrases which have a considerable history, meaning and significance attached to them, when used by a person. And tragically, often a matter of Life & Death; affirmation & rejection; Love & Hate.
Jeremiah suffered imprisonment, beatings and plots against his life. We get the clearest insights into the cost of prophetic ministry from his book. But our first reading underpins why he does it and suffered for it.
The people of Nazareth reject what Jesus has to say and they want to throw him off the hill! They reject what he stands for; inclusion, healing the blind, the lame, sinners and gentiles, all being loved by God just as much as the Chosen People.
The ‘Listening Events’ of the Synodal Pathway focussed a lot on those excluded and the sense of exclusion that many experience.
St Paul in our second reading is our blue-print. Because without Love I am empty and the knowledge I think I have, is not full knowledge or full understanding. We need prophets to see through the dim mirror. We need prophets to stand up and make us confront face to face the booming gong, clashing cymbal.
Jesus did that and his message continues to call us to always put love first! He did! Let us always follow his example!