St.John Mary Vianney


Leviticus 23:1,4-11, 15-16, 27,34b-37
Matthew 13:54-58


Unlike many gospel passages, the social context of this story seems to transcend time and place. It could be any small town in today’s Australia if not another part of the world. Close your eyes, and you can hear the whispers in the hair salon, at the bridge table, and almost assuredly in the church parking lot:

“Who does he think he is, coming back here, all high and mighty!”

“Was not his dad the town Carpenter?”

“Where did he get all his fancy learning, and where does he get off trying to tell us what’s what in the world as if he knows the best!”

The disconnect between the people’s expectations and Jesus’s unconventional manifestation sparks a reaction. I was intrigued by Poet James Berry’s poem titled “What Do We Do with a Variation?”:

What do we do with a difference?

Do we stand and discuss its oddity

or do we ignore it? 

Do we shut our eyes to it

or poke it with a stick?

Do we clobber it to death?

Do we move around it in rage

and enlist the rage of others?

Do we will it to go away?

Do we look at it in awe

or purely in wonderment?

Do we work for it to disappear?

Do we pass it stealthily

or change route away from it?

Do we will it to become like ourselves?

What do we do with a difference?

Do we communicate to it,

let application acknowledge it

for barriers to fall down?

Giltus Mathias CP is a Passionist that lives at St.Brigid’s Retreat, Marrickville.