What Kind of Place was Nazareth?

What Kind of Place was Nazareth? February 3, 2016

Jimmy Akin has a good review of this past Sunday’s Gospel reading up at the Register.  Meanwhile, something to think about:

When Philip asks, “Can anything good from Nazareth?” the intensity of the question is lost on us.  When we hear other references to Jesus being from that town, there’s no real significance.  It’s just this place.  A little town like any other.

We tend, then, to dismiss the rejection of Jesus in his hometown as just one of those things — people won’t let you out of your box, all that.  True enough.

But now think about the implications:  Jesus grew up in the kind of town where church-people would murder you for getting uppity.  Not just get mad, or boycott your shop, or say mean things.  Kill you.  The people you grew up with were willing to kill you for saying something they didn’t care to hear.   They’d knowingly, willingly, leave your widowed mother bereft of her only son.  And hey, your kinsman are standing right there watching the whole thing.  Maybe participating.

On the one hand, if you wanted to raise a kid with a thick skin, Nazareth was good for that.

But if we want to properly meditate on our Lord’s formative years, we probably need to get all our bucolic fantasies out of the way and imagine the equivalent of some contemporary city or neighborhood known for its gang shootings or deadly family feuds.

Likewise, this passage sheds considerable light on why, when his kinsman got up a posse to fetch him away, our Lord might have chosen not to invite them inside — and why His mother might have been more than a little relieved with that decision.

 

File:Jules Guérin. Men of Galilee . 1910.jpg
Artwork: Men of Galilee by Jules Guérin (1866-1946) from the book by Robert Smythe Hichens, The Holy Land, 1910 p.134) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.


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