Voices ever ancient, ever new. Friday-Week17-2013.

In commenting on Matthew 13:53 from today’s Mass Readings, Origen of Alexandria writes:

“We must therefore inquire whether by the expression “his own country” is meant Nazareth or Bethlehem. It might have been Nazareth, because of the saying “he shall be called a Nazarene.” Or it might have been Bethlehem, since he was born there. Furthermore, I wonder whether the Evangelists could have said “coming to Bethlehem” or “coming to Nazareth.” They have not done so but have named it more simply “his country.” This is because of something being declared in a mystic sense in the passage about his country — namely, the whole of Judea — in which he was dishonored. This is according to the saying “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country.” Jesus Christ was considered “a stumbling block to the Jews,” among whom he is persecuted even until now. But he was proclaimed among the Gentiles and believed in everywhere — for his word has run over the whole world. In his own country Jesus had no honor, but among those who were “strangers from the covenants,” the Gentiles, he is held in honor. But the Evangelists have not recorded what things he taught and spoke in their synagogue. All we know is that they were so great and of such a nature that all were astonished. Probably the things spoken were too elevated to be written down. Only let us note that he taught in their synagogue, not separating from it or disregarding it. (Commentary on Matthew, 10).”

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