Jesus was a Nazorean. The Son of the God who created and rules the universe bore the label of a hick town, just as we may be labeled East River, West River, Husker fanatics, Iowegians, MinnesOOOOtans or named by whatever town we hale from. It's part of the human condition that we live in a particular time and place which makes us who we are, whether we claim it or run from it.
In her book, "Dakota", Kathleen Norris says, "To attach oneself to place is to surrender to it, and suffer with it." That seems to me to be a definition of the Incarnation, the mystery of God becoming flesh in a particular time and place. Because we surrender and love, we also suffer with the sadness and sickness of our neighbors in that place, or grieve when a disaster destroys the local landscape. Jesus felt with the people of Nazareth, so we know He can feel with us now.
Lucy Van Pelt of the Charlie Brown gang said, "I love humanity; it's people I can't stand." Our families, too, are the location of our human experiences, our joys and our pains. Never perfect, family inserts us into humanity with its imperfections, where we learn to "stand" and understand people, and learn to love.
Sr. Mary Jo Polak, OSB
Benedictine Peace Center, Sacred Heart Monastery, Yankton, S.D.
SIRACH 3:2-6, 12-14• PSALM 128:1-2, 3, 4-5• COLOSSIANS 3:12-21 OR COLOSSIANS 3:12-17 • MATTHEW 2:13-15, 19-23