In today’s Gospel, the people in Jesus’ hometown questioned Jesus’ credibility. Because of familiarity, they did not give him due respect. They said he was just one of us. Their attitude towards Him prompted Jesus to reply, a prophet is not without honor except in his native place and his own house.

There is a saying that goes, familiarity breeds contempt. Let me elaborate on it and relate it to this experience.

This past year, when I celebrated the 4th of July with some friends, someone asked me, what is your opinion about our country as an immigrant and being born and raised in another country? That person asked for a new way or perspective of seeing and understanding his country.

It occurred to me that looking at our lives with a fresh eye and a different perspective is sustaining and important. At times, when we become familiar with our blessings, we tend to appreciate them less.

On July 4th, we celebrated what many people in many parts of the world strive for freedom and opportunities. However, we who have enjoyed freedom and many opportunities our whole lives may take them for granted because they are always within reach. We take our physical and spiritual freedom for granted. We forget that our freedom was purchased at a very high cost. Many people sacrificed and died for it. Men and women in uniform continue to serve in even the most dangerous parts the world to bring home freedom and peace.

The lack of appreciation to the meaning of freedom might be why some people abuse it, and many fail to seize the tremendous opportunities that come their way.

Similarly, our church is just within reach. We can pray, visit the Holy Sacrament, and listen to the Word of God at Church on Sundays. But many of us do not take the time and opportunity to deepen our relationship with the Lord and to one another. This kind of religious freedom is what many of our Christian brothers and sisters, especially in some parts of the Middle East and Asia, are dying to have. Some lost their lives only to demonstrate their faith in their country and God.

This weekend, let us continue to thank the Lord for our country, church, families, and many things with which God has blessed us. Let us not allow familiarity to breed contempt. When we allow it to happen, the message is not received, and we are blind to the beauty and opportunities around us. We will eventually fail to work for progress, unity and peace.

Let us have a new eye and perspective in looking at our lives and the many things we enjoy and cherish. Let us also count those blessings God has given us. We pray to God to help us live in a way that glorifies our Lord. May God inspire us to lead others into the freedom found in Christ.