+ Jesus understood clearly how familiarity could breed contempt. Sometimes the worst vantage point is the proximate one. The "home town" boy is only hailed and put on a pedestal for things done away from the home town. Otherwise, it is difficult to see how wondrous things could happen by "one like us!" And this is a shame, because here Jesus is announcing to his relatives and neighbors that he is the long awaited Messiah: and they miss the whole point because they only see him as "little Jesus," son of Joseph, a nice enough chap, a talented carpenter, and no more. They missed the finality and authority in his tone of voice that was ushering in a whole new era of life for everyone. And when Jesus reprimanded them for this they wanted to throw him over a cliff. Yes, they missed the whole point of their "home town boy come home for a visit!"
If Jesus knew this would happen, then why did he make this grand announcement that the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, the anointed one, to bring glad tidings to the poor, liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind – and to proclaim an amnesty year of grace from the Lord – in his home town? Because he at least wanted to give them the opportunity to be the first to know; he gave them the benefit of the doubt.
Sometimes, after being Catholic for years and years it is easy for us to fall into the "familiarity breeds contempt" syndrome. We seem to think we know all there is to know about Jesus. We often times take him for granted and begin to lose sight of the urgency of his message. We must "stay awake" and alert to his message of preparedness: for as St. Paul tells us in the first reading one day – any day – it could really be this day – the angel shall speak, the trumpet shall sound, the dead in Christ shall arise, and the living will ascend into the clouds, the Lord Jesus will come again as he promised and the final chapter of salvation his will indeed begin. This is not just a story, this is not just fiction, this is the absolute truth that Jesus came to tell us about, and sent preachers to remind us about, sent priests to provide the spiritual food of Eucharist and the forgiveness of sins in the sacrament of Penance to prepare us for.
The Lord is coming as judge; let us have nothing at all to fear, because for us familiarity does not breed contempt; for us we have a very healthy, holy, fear of God's awesomeness, but also knowledge of his deep love, tenderness and desire to gather us unto himself for all eternity! Amen.