I’ve lived and worked in many places that have been given a negative reputation by those who live outside or who have never visited the place or met the people. It’s not just small communities that gain this treatment but whole countries too. It’s unfair, and can be debilitating to those communities. In today’s Bible reading, the people think they know Jesus and are surprised that he can do the things they do. After all, they know his family, they are familiar with the place from which he comes. In another gospel passage some people will say, “Surely nothing good can come from Nazareth’. They have got things wrong on several counts. First, they dismiss Jesus simply because of who and where they think he has come from. In this case though, Jesus is one of their own, a fellow Nazarene, and they are surprised by what seems to be emerging from among them. Perhaps they have believed what others outside Nazareth believed about that little town? They begin to own the negative reputations given to them, that nothing good can come from the place where they live. How do we view others? Do we stereotype whole communities of people. Or do we begin to believe what others say of us? What can we do today to liberate the world of such false rumours? And how can we raise our expectations of what is really possible? And do we believe and trust in the possibilities of God?
God our Father, help us to build a stronger world, by tearing down walls that divide, seeking the dignity of all people, and believing your promises. Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.