Monday of the Third Week of Lent
One of the great lessons children learn by playing sports is how to lose well. Imagine a basketball team that practices hard, plays hard, and still loses. They fix their desire on one goal, and labor towards it for a long time, and come up empty at the end. The loss is hard. Even grown men, professional athletes, have been known to shed a tear after losing a tough match. People experience rejection in their careers and in their relationships. In prayer, too, sometimes we find a “no” waiting for us.
Today’s gospel is about not getting what you want. The people of Nazareth wanted Jesus to work miracles for them, just like he had done in other towns. Furthermore, since Jesus was from Nazareth, they expected some special favors from him. Instead, they got harsh words and no miracles. “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.” He said “no,” and the people became furious.
We must not become angry or bitter when we are told “no.” When we fix our desires on anything less than God, anything less than the end for which we were created, hearing a “no” is really the best thing that can happen to us, and yet we easily become discouraged or even angry. Let us fix our desires on our truest end, and let us pray for God’s grace and mercy.